Good Stuff From ESPN’s Mark Simon On The Virtues Of Frugality

Statistical maven Mark Simon of ESPN New York, has another solid post today, this one looks at a true Mets rarity; being frugal. Let him explain,

This will be the lowest potential payout that the Mets have put forth to free agents in an offseason since committing to only $8.6 million in potential payouts in the 1997-98 offseason.

Since that one, the Mets have made at least one big free agent signing every offseason. From the 1998-99 offseason to the 2009-10 offseason, they signed players to contracts guaranteeing them nearly $800 million, whether it be from the Mets or another team to which they were later dealt (in some cases, for another big contract).

This year will end a streak of 12 straight offseasons in which the Mets signed at least one free agent to a contract with a total value of at least $10 million.

Honestly, that’s a streak I don’t mind breaking after four straight years of some really bad contracts being doled out.

In the following chart, Mark lists each offseason’s top grab for the last 14 years. More often than not, the Mets have gotten burned either because the player was simply not worth it, or because the length of the deal was far too long. The Mets have gotten very little bang for some big-time bucks. Thankfully, we’ll be putting this sorry trend to an end.

Contracts listed are the largest for each season, based on total value at time of the signing.

Year Name Yrs-$
2010-11 D.J. Carrasco 2-$2.5M
2009-10 Jason Bay 4-$66.0M
2008-09 Francisco Rodriguez 3-$37.0M
2007-08 Luis Castillo 4-$25.0
2006-07 Orlando Hernandez 2-$12.0M
2005-06 Billy Wagner 4-$43.0M
2004-05 Carlos Beltran 7-$119.0M
2003-04 Kaz Matsui 3-$20.1M
2002-03 Tom Glavine 3-$35.0M
2001-02 Roger Cedeno 4-$18.0M
2000-01 Kevin Appier 4-$42.0M
1999-00 Todd Zeile 3-$18.0M
1998-99 Robin Ventura 4-$32.0M
1997-98 John Olerud 2-$8.0M

With the continued escalation of out of control salaries in baseball, it’s hard to imagine that our highest paid acquisition will make less than $1.5 million annually. But that’s the price you pay for too many years of the checkbook style of team building. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place. Thanks Omar.

You can also follow Mark Simon on Twitter

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Hey on another note, interesting article in Spinner about the Top 50 Guitar Rifts in rock. A real treasure trove of classics, but I totally disagree with their number one. However, I was glad to see this one ranked up near the top. Enjoy!