Yesterday we started discussing my plan for world domination… of the baseball variety. We began by looking at who’s leaving and what the roster might look like sans some important pieces. Today we are going to plug the holes, fill the gaps, and make the Mets into World Series contenders for 2010. Let’s get started, eh?
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.
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.