2009 New York Mets Have To Pay To Play

Richard Marsh@RichardMarshSenior Analyst IJanuary 1, 2009

Why is it that the New York Mets, who are considered by all to be a big-market team, act just like the opposite of one? If they want to keep the payroll around $143M, which it was last year, then tell me why they won't finish second again?

If we are to compete with the Phillies and the rest of the N.L. East for the next five years at least, they can not wait that long until it develops our farm system so it is in the top 10. The Mets have made strides in that area during Omar Miniya's tenure, but that will take at least five more years to achieve.

The Mets have to PAY TO PLAY. Do they want to win? Of course they do, and so do the fans so that they can rid the taste of the last three disappointing years. Here's what I believe the Mets need to do.

First and foremost, I cannot believe the Mets have turned a cold ear to having one of the five most productive players in the league on their radar. I say two years for $45 million to Manny, with a third-year option at $25 million, based on performance.

Who dares to disagree that most certainly would be an upgrade to a Tatis/Murphy platoon in left? I would love to have those two guys coming off the bench in the late innings.

Next, the Mets need a bona fied consistent No. 2. Most people believe that Derek Lowe is that person. OK, finalize the offer to Lowe at $39 million for three years or if Boras is a fool to take it, then how about Oliver Perez for $32 million for four years?

I know many fans in South Philly who cringe at the mention of Perez on the hill at Citizens Bank Park facing Utley, Howard and Ibanez three times a year.

With either of those two signed, I would go hard at Randy Wolf who very quietly had a very good year between San Diego and Houston and for $20 million for three years he would add a second or third left-hander to give the Phillies fits.

Next on my agenda and for those who regularly read my articles and for those who know you can never have enough quality starting pitchers I would most DEFINITELY re-sign Pedro. He could be had for as little as $6 million for two years and with major incentives to get him as much as $10M.

I believe that Pedro could be good for 20 to 30 wins in the next two years. He wants to finish his illustrious career on a high note and nobody will work harder than Pedro to thank the Mets for believing in him as he especially wants to make up for the last two years, particularly last year.

The other tremendous upside to this move is the very special relationship between Pedro and Manny, who, besides being close teammates from their World Series Championship in Boston, Pedro has always and will continue to keep Manny under control.

This next one is going to be a surprise and I believe that this is Omar's thinking as well. The Mets need to give Castillo until May 30 to see what's he's willing to do to save his career. He knows better than all of us if he can't change the perception that he has perpetuated by his play and his effort both on and off the field last year and if it does not change right from Jump Street, he knows that he will be through as a player in the MLB.

If the answer is still NO to Manny, which I think is truly ridiculous, then the most obvious choice is to bring in Adam Dunn to play left field for at least a year or two and then, as many reporters have suggested, he could be moved to first base upon Delgado's departure and while keeping that, as the plan having Murphy continue his work at second base if Castillo blows up.

I'd rather see a platoon of Tatis/Church in right then platoon of Tatis/Murphy in left.

Omar, you fill these holes, and the payroll will increase by around $45 million this year and barring key injuries to the core players, not only will the Mets be the overwhelming favorite to win in '09, but we should definitely be in the hunt for the next 5 years.

ONE MORE TIME: It's time to start acting like this is NEW YORK, Mr. Wilpon. You just have to PAY TO PLAY.


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