With recent talk that the Mets may not be spending on a top-tier free agent, many Mets fans have begun speculating which second-tier free agents or trade targets may be a fit.
With this in mind, I have come up with a four-part offseason plan that would make fantasy baseball players, as well as Jerome-From-Manhattan-type WFAN callers proud.
I don't know what Minaya's budget is going to be (and honestly, neither do you), but with contracts like Delgado ($12 mil) and Putz ($5 mil, $1 mil buy out) coming off the books, let's set the bar at $35 mil.
It is rumored that the Mets approached the Diamondbacks with a Castillo for Snyder swap, only to be turned down. But with the emergence of Miguel Montero, Arizona is desperate to move their $4.75 million backup catcher.
The Diamondbacks could use a high-OBP hitter to spark the top of their lineup, and current second baseman Ryan Roberts is a nice player, but he doesn't have much upside.
It's not the best fit, but if the Mets take on some of Castillo's salary (maybe $3 million) and throw in a guy like Nick Evans, perhaps this can get done. If need be, we can throw in a Dillon Gee-type prospect.
Snyder is a hard nosed, defensive-minded catcher who can handle a pitching staff, take a walk, and hit 20 homeruns. He'll be a good "power treat" (as a Metsblog poster mistakenly said) at the bottom of our lineup.
He makes a little over $17 mil over the next three years (with a $750K buy out in 2012), a reasonable price for a solid backstop.
His arrival would give Josh Thole another year or so to marinate in the minors.
2010 Salary: $4.75 mil - $6 mil for Castillo + $3 mil in salary = $1.75 mil
Recent reports indicate that the Reds may be looking to move some of their high-priced talents to cut salary. Perhaps if the Mets are willing to take on Harang's contract, they can get Phillips without surrendering too much talent.
Maybe a deal centered around Ruben Tejada, Jeurys Familia and some other pretty good prospects will get it done.
Harang could benefit from a move to Citi Field, as his peripherals indicate he is better than his 4.52 ERA over the past two seasons, and his 12-31 record is a product of a poor Reds team.
He makes $12.5 million this year with a $14.5 mil mutual option for '11 if traded. The 6'7 righty will be 32 next year.
Phillips has been something of a disappointment since his 2007 breakout, and his low OBP is concerning. But his power and speed combination is real, and his defense is a big step up from Castillo.
His $6.75 million contract ($11 million in '11 and $12 million club option in '12) could be a steal if he ever regains his '07 form.
It's a lot of salary to take on, and there is some risk involved, but that is why it might not cost much in terms of prospects.
2010 Salary: $12.5 mil + $6.75 mil = $19.25 mil
Stealing Curtis Granderson away from the Tigers won't be easy, especially since so many other teams will be interested. But for whatever reason, the Tigers seem to want to move the speedy outfielder.
Would a package that includes Fernando Martinez, Brad Holt and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (who has been compared to Granderson) get it done? I don't know, but that package seems better to me than the one that got Johan Santana.
At age 29, Granderson is right around his prime and is signed long term for cheap ($23.75 mil over the next three years, with a $13 mil club option in '13). He is coming off his worst season in the past three, but he managed to hit 30 home runs. Many expect a full bounce-back
Granderson plays a good center field, but for now, be moved to left field until Beltran's knees move him to a corner spot. We'd just have to hope we don't get a repeat of what happened when Mike Cameron was moved to right field...
Granderson's offensive game is perfect for the spacious Citi-field, where he could hit 23 triples like he did in 2007. Reyes and Granderson at the top would be a great 1-2 punch.
Granderson is young enough, good enough, and signed long enough to rationalize trading Fernando Martinez. And really, no one knows what F-mart will turn into.
2010 Salary: $5.5 mil
With top prospect Ike Davis probably a year away, a one-year stopgap is needed at the cool corner.
When healthy, Nick Johnson is a solid hitter who has some pop and a great eye. His high OBP can either be slotted in the #2 spot, or he can be used to strengthen the bottom of the order. He may not be the power hitting first baseman a lot of people want, but with power now coming from second base and left field, Johnson is the perfect fit to balance out the lineup.
The injury risk is real, but if he stays healthy, you're pretty much guaranteed 15+ HR and a .400+ OBP. He is also a strong defender.
2010 Salary: $7 mil
Total Cost of Moves: $33.50
Prospects Traded: OF Fernando Martinez, RHP Brad Holt, SS Ruben Tejada, 1B Nick Evans, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Dillon Gee
With the remaining $1.5 million, paint those green seats blue. Although green may be the most important color to the team's owners, real die hard Mets fans know the team's colors are blue and orange.
2010 Batting Order:
1. Jose Reyes, SS (Bats: S)
2. Curtis Granderson, LF (L)
3. David Wright, 3B (R)
4. Carlos Beltran, CF (S)
5. Brandon Phillips, 2B (R)
6. Nick Johnson, 1B (L)
7. Chris Snyder, C (R)
8. Jeff Francoeur, RF (R)
1. Johan Santana (Throws: L)
2. Aaron Harang (R)
3. Mike Pelfrey (R)
4. John Maine (R)
5. Oliver Perez (L) / Jon Niese (L)
Top Prospects Remaining: RHP Jenrry Mejia, 1B Ike Davis, IF Wilmer Flores, 2B Reese Havens, C Josh Thole
So there you have it. Just one free agent signing and a few simple trades that I could totally pull off in MLB 2010 for Nintendo Wii (I don't really play video games anymore, but I assume this is still a game).
Are these moves likely? No.
But are they within the realm of possibility? Also no.
But was it fun to play GM and think outside the box for solutions to this team's holes? Actually it was kind of tedious and time consuming.
I hope someone learned something from all this.