New York Mets - Blueprint For World Domination!

Onan CocaContributor INovember 6, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 08:  Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Omar Minaya of the New York Mets looks on before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 8, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I am not talking today about a plan for peace in the Middle East, or missile shields in Eurasia, or a way to fix the trade deficit.

No, the plan I will be revealing in this article is much more expansive…much more improbable…but just as important!

The plan I propose today is a roadmap for victory in the MLB.  Today I take up the cause of my recently hapless New York Mets…the Amazin’s have stumbled through a rough year…and I as their not so bearded Moses, plan to lead them out.  I just need Omar Minaya and the Wilpon family to read my blog.

The Mets plan in the upcoming year to have a payroll of roughly $140 million dollars.  That will actually be about $10 million less than this past year, but should be more than enough to make a National League team competitive.

First, let’s take a look at some of the players that will probably be missing from next years Metsy’s!

Carlos Delgado – the Mets powerful 1st baseman missed most of the 2009 campaign with a hip injury.  He is a free agent now and could re-sign with the Mets.  I don’t know if Minaya thinks Delgado is worth the risk.  – Minus $12 million

Brian Schneider – the Mets brought Schneider in the hopes they would be getting a premier defensive backstop.  Instead they got an oft-injured, light hitting, just average defensive catcher.  I can guarantee that the Mets will not miss his game.  It wasn’t all a loss though because the trade that brought Schneider to town, eventually brought Jeff Francouer as well. – Minus $5 million

Tim Redding – the hope was that Redding would make a serviceable 5th man in the rotation.  That hope…did not pan out.  While Redding was the Mets BEST pitcher over the last 3-4 weeks of the season, he was horrendous over the first 5 months and I don’t think his work at the end of the season salvaged his chances with the Mets (Though he may have pitched himself into a contract with another team).  – Minus $2 million

Billy Wagner – Billy was traded just before the end of the season but none the less the money owed our favorite volatile lefty comes off the books.  Personally, I would love to see Billy come back and sign on to be K-Rod’s new set up man.  – Minus $10.5 million

Alex Cora – Brought on to be the Mets club house chemistry guy, Alex was asked to do much more once the season got underway.  Injuries thrust Alex into an everyday role… and it was not good.  Cora excels as a part time player and club house chemistry guy… the Mets may bring him back in the hopes he can settle into that role this year.  However at around $2 million a year, the price may be prohibitive.  Personally, I would just proceed with Anderson Hernandez who is much cheaper and offers a similar skill set, minus the clubhouse stuff.  – Minus $2 million

Gary Sheffield – Sheff was supposed to be a super-sub, but like Cora he ended up having to play a lot more than we originally thought.  That’s not necessarily a problem, as Sheff played really well when he could… the problem was that Sheff is 40+ years old… and his body couldn’t handle the wear and tear.  He won’t be back.  – Minus $400 grand.

The Mets also owe arbitration raises to Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur, Cory Sullivan, Jeremy Reed, John Maine, Pedro Feliciano, and Sean Green. Along with that Redding, Maine, and Nelson Figueroa could all be non-tendered (which we have already done for Redding).

I expect the Mets to come to terms with each of these guys for at least the next year.  I think Francoeur will likely see a three year deal, and Feliciano will likely be signed for another two years.  Maine was hurt most of 2009 but showed he was back at the end of the season and the Mets will likely bring him back for at least a 2010 test run.  Sean Green may end up being non-tendered (and released) but I think that would be a mistake.  Green had some trouble early on in the season but the stuff was there, and he has been a dominant reliever in the past.  I think the Mets should bring Green back on a 1-2 year deal for about $500-600 grand a season.  Lastly, the three OF, Pagan, Reed, and Sullivan.  The Mets go into the off season with a gap in LF, meaning they will be looking to sign another LF, I think that means that one of these three guys will be non-tendered.  Again, I think it’s a mistake.  As the 2009 season proved you cannot rely on complete health through a full season and all three OF proved they were valuable in 2009.  At the least I would resign all three and try and move one of them in a trade between now and the start of the 2010 season.  If one must be non-tendered, I would say goodbye to Jeremy Reed.  He is a solid defensive OF but I think that in 2009 Pagan and Sullivan both proved to be as good defensively and better offensively. I would bring back Sullivan for a year at $600-700 grand, and I would try and sign Pagan to a deal through his arbitration years to backup our starters in the OF.  I would also re-sign Figueroa.

Francoeur – 3 years $12 million

Feliciano – 2 years $4 million

Maine – 1 year $3 million

Green – 2 years $1.2 million

Pagan – 3 years $2.5 million

Sullivan – 1 year $650K

Reed – non-tendered

Figueroa – 1 year $500K

And lastly on the list of guys for next year is JJ Putz.  The Mets have an option Putz for 2010 that would cost them $8 Million, but conventional wisdom says the Mets won’t pay that for a just back from injury set-up man.  There is a scenario where the Mets do pick up the option and then trade Putz to a team needing a closer, but Putz recent injury history puts that in question.  More likely the Mets exercise their $1 Million buyout, and Mr. Putz becomes a free agent.

So the team looks kind of like this…

Let’s look at who will probably be around next year first.

C – ?

1st – ?

2nd – Luis Castillo

SS – Jose Reyes

3rd – David Wright

LF - ?

CF – Carlos Beltran

RF – Jeff Francoeur


C – Omir Santos

OF – Angel Pagan

OF – Cory Sullivan?

IF – Anderson Hernandez?

IF – Daniel Murphy?

SP – Johan Santana

SP –

SP – Oliver Perez

SP – John Maine

SP – ?

This Rotation order may be quite different in 2010, but this was the order going into 2009.

CL – Francisco Rodriguez (aka K-Rod)

RP – Pedro Feliciano

RP – ?

RP – Brian Stokes

RP – Bobby Parnell

RP – Sean Green

LRP – Nelson Figueroa

So we have holes to fill at Catcher, 1st base, Left Field, and in the starting rotation and bullpen

I need to start by saying this; some of our gaps may need to be filled by trade, and if that is the case I will likely be calling on some names from our minor league stocks.  The Mets plan to spend roughly $20-30 Million in filling the gaps on the team.  Also, the Mets first round draft pick in next years draft is protected, so the Mets can sign a Type-A free agent without fear of losing that pick.

Now to the players…

Catcher seems to be the easiest position to fill as there are a plethora of catchers available on the open market.  Omir Santos is a serviceable backup so let’s look for a guy who can start.  My first choice here is Rod Barajas.  Barajas is a good defensive catcher who can handle himself with the bat, for the Mets this would actually represent an upgrade over last year’s catchers.  I think Barajas can be had for a 2 year deal worth $4 – 5 million.

Other possibilities: Bengie Molina, Ivan Rodriguez, Yorvit Torrealba, and Greg Zaun all seem like possible fits if Barajas falls through.

In Left Field there are also many available options, but two that particularly stand out for me.  Most of the conversation thus far has been on Matt Holiday and Jason Bay… these two guys both bother me.  They are too expensive and not nearly good enough for the money they will command.  Neither is a good defensive player, and both have offensive deficiencies as well (Bay more than Holiday).  I don’t like either guy for the Mets.  In a perfect world the Mets would be able to get their hands on Carl Crawford or BJ Upton to roam LF but in this world… I think they should sign Jermaine Dye.  Dye’s power and grit would be a welcome addition to the lineup.  Believing that Dye will not have many suitors in the offseason, I would offer a 2 year deal worth about $12 - $14 million with a team option for a 3rd year.

Other possibilities: Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Matt Holiday.

Now to shuffle things up a bit, we are going to make some moves to try and improve the team and get a little younger.  Kansas City has had a heck of a time finding a full time 2nd baseman and wouldn’t you know… we are about to offer them one.  Luis Castillo just had a great year (offensively), and now is the time to move him.  I will offer him (and for our purposes they will accept) to Kansas City.  Castillo + $4 million to KC for a solid prospect or two.

This move now opens a hole at 2nd base, which we will fill by signing Orlando Hudson to a 2 year deal.  The Mets should ink Hudson two a 2 year deal worth 8 million.  This actually makes the financial transaction of Luis Castillo for Orlando Hudson a wash…but nets the Mets a couple of minor leaguers.

Other possibilities:  Keep Luis Castillo, or get Placido Polanco, or Jack Wilson.  All solid defensive options who can swing the bat…though no Cano or Utley type power here.

Let’s not stop there, we still have that gaping hole at 1st base and have not signed any power guys.  Let’s make a deal.  Adrian Gonzalez is the prodigiously powerful 1st baseman for the San Diego Padres, and he happens to be on the trading block.  Gonzalez makes so much sense it almost doesn’t make sense!  He is young (27), and he is cheap ($4.5 mil in 2010, $5 mil club option in 2011), and he hits for power in a pitcher’s park (40 HR in 2009 played half his games at Petco Park).  The problem is that it sounds like Boston covets him too.  This matters not to me because the Mets will be making the best offer.

I would send; Mike Pelfrey (SP), Ike Davis (1stB), Reese Havens (2ndB) and Fernando Martinez (OF) to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez.

Other possibilities: Re-sign Delgado to a one year deal, or Nick Johnson, or bring in Troy Glaus to platoon with Daniel Murphy at 1st base.

Thus far by my count we have added between $12.5 and $14 million in salary to next years team…which means we have roughly $6 - $15 million left to spend (give or take a few million)…and we still need a two starters and a reliever (because we traded Pelfrey away).

Let’s grab our starters first and then look to fill in the reliever’s with what we have left. 

Best case scenario in my Mets building plans would be to move Oliver Perez…however, his HUGE contract makes that almost impossible.  He is still owed $24 million over the next two years.  So Perez stays in the rotation, as does John Maine who has shown flashes of being a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Our first signing is Erik Bedard on a two year $13 million dollar contract with incentives that could push the deal upwards of $20 million.  The other starter is Jason Marquis on a three year deal worth $18 - $20 million (This would be a discount on Marquis’ last deal but I don’t think he will see a better one).

Other possibilities:  There are way too many to count, so I will just toss out my favorites.  Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, and Jon Garland would all fit in nicely if I had to substitute my first choices…though the money could become a challenge.

Lastly, we look to round out the relievers.  Because of the way the pitching staff looks to have been constructed I am going to be concentrating on getting a left handed reliever.  Pedro Feliciano being the only lefty in the pen is not sound planning!  I would make an offer to Joe Beimel of 1 year and $2 million.

Other possibilities: John Grabow, Will Ohman, and Brian Shouse.

So my team ends up looking like this (by batting order)…

SS – Jose Reyes

2b – Orlando Hudson

CF – Carlos Beltran

1B – Adrian Gonzalez

3B – David Wright

LF – Jermaine Dye

RF – Jeff Francoeur

C – Rod Barajas


C – Omir Santos

OF – Angel Pagan

OF – Cory Sullivan

IF – Anderson Hernandez

IF – Daniel Murphy

SP – Johan Santana

SP – Erik Bedard

SP – Jason Marquis

SP – Oliver Perez

SP – John Maine

CL – Francisco Rodriguez (aka K-Rod)

RP – Pedro Feliciano

RP – Joe Beimel

RP – Brian Stokes

RP – Bobby Parnell

RP – Sean Green

LRP – Nelson Figueroa

So if we go by most conservative numbers (meaning we have given each player the higher end of my contract offers) we have added $30 million to the payroll.  The Mets payroll sits roughly at $140 million. 

Some thoughts:

This team has a good mix of speed, power, and patience.  We have four guys who could each belt at least 30 bombs, and a couple who could go for 20.  We have 4 guys who could steal 20+ bases and 1 who could steal 60+.  Seven of the eight hitters could hit around .300 (more likely 5 of them will), and the defense on the team should be above average.

The rotation should be much improved, and the bullpen as good as last year when several pitchers were overused and the pen underperformed.

I think this squad has the makings of a National League champion and should be more than competitive for the World Series crown. 

Any thoughts?  Please comment on what you think of my plan and if you have your own plan!

Update:  After publishing this Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox made a trade swapping Mark Teahan from KC for Josh Fields and Chris Getz.  This could cause the Castillo trade to be highly improbable.  Also, prior to publication I had selected Bobby Abreu for Left field but news broke yesterday that he was signing an extension to stay with the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles… which caused me to move to my second option, Jermaine Dye.