Of course as the Reyes debate continues the Mets have to as a team be prepared for life without Jose even if some fans are not. Let me first say I trust Sandy to do the right thing, whether that be re-signing Reyes or moving on. Also, I am not qualified to say these are the moves that would put the Mets over the top or even in the right direction. So as I attach names to next year’s teams it is more about philosophy than names. Feel free to scratch a name here or there and fill it with who you believe makes more sense or is a better fit.
First of all the popular notion is that the Mets should not bring back Pelfrey or Pagan. I for one think that both will be offered arbitration but neither may be on the Mets in 2012. Remember that players can still be traded once offered arbitration AND there is a deadline for these type players to be released with little consequence (see Duaner Sanchez). However for the sake of the argument how could the 31 million combined best be used for the 2012 season and the future.
Facts are not easy to come by this time of year but probabilities are still useful. Chances are the Mets will not spend the entire amount for 2012 if Reyes does not re-sign. Not only would it not be necessary but would be foolish as well. Lets assume that out of that estimated 31 million from those players they pocket 5M.
What is the biggest weakness? Mets fans in unison say pitching.
Sign a young pitcher with high upside spending a decent amount of money. No CJ Wilson here. My choice Paul Maholm. If you are big on judging a pitcher by wins and losses, skip this paragraph. Maholm is 29 years old and had a 3.66 ERA in 162 innings last season. He did hit the DL for the first time in his career but many in Pittsburgh wondered if it was legit. I would think 2 years with an option at around 8M per year would be enough. Another alternative is Edwin Jackson. Higher upside, higher demands…
Assuming now that you have 5 starters in the rotation with health concerns for two of them you will need another Capuano type. Unfortunately Cap has most likely priced himself out of the discussion due to a great find. I trust Sandy here but a guy like Dontrelle Willis has some name value. Cost 2-3M.
Got to have a closer, in house options just won’t cut it. Luckily for the Mets it is a saturated market. Personally my pick would be Joe Nathan. No need to discuss his merits. When healthy he was compared favorably to Rivera. Obviously health is a question but if the Mets can also add a compliment with closing experience they have nothing to lose. Cost 6M with incentives.
The complement to Nathan. Another high upside guy looking to rebuild value with closing experience. My pick Jonathan Broxton. Still only 27, 2011 was a lost year. For 2 years he has not been the same, the Mets are in a position where they can find out why. Other names Lidge, Rauch, David Aardsma, Dan Wheeler. Cost 3-5M.
The offense. Obviously the offense will take a step backwards replacing Reyes with Tejada. However, hopefully you will also have full seasons from Davis and Wright while Duda is able to produce for an entire season. Also you can hopefully factor in some improvement from Bay. That being said you need offensive potential from somewhere. My pick, signing a hungry Grady Sizemore. There is going to be competition here but I still don’t see more than a 1 year deal with an option and incentives. Grady is obviously an injury risk but could turn into gold if healthy. Honestly after him I see not many alternatives better than Pagan. To me Ankiel and McLouth are not serious options. Cost uh… 6M plus incentives.
Got to have someone to back up Sizemore than can also play great defense while being an asset to the team. My pick, full circle. Endy Chavez. Endy proved to be recovered from an injury that cost him 2010. While I have been critical of Endy in the past he is exactly what the Mets need to replace Pagan as the 4th OF. Cost 2M.
With Tejada at SS and Murphy, Turner, and the cast at 2B the Mets need an established veteran capable of playing SS and 2B. My pick Jamey Carroll. Not sure if you can get him to head East again but he is what he is. A good average, solid OBP, solid defender, professional player. A guy that can slot in at 2B, SS, 3B at any time without costing you dramatically on offense or defense. Other alternatives, the cast of 1,000′s. Cost 2-3M.
Total money spent around 25-28M. Roster would look something like this.
Johan, Dickey, Maholm, Niese, Gee
Nathan, Broxton, Parnell, Acosta, Byrdak, Beato, Buchholz and or others.
Sizemore, Murphy, Davis, Wright, Duda, Bay, Thole, Tejada, (Fight over lineups when it matters)
Paulino, Turner, Evans, Chavez, Carroll
No Jose Reyes, is that a certainty yet? No but the Mets have to have contingency plans because contrary to some beliefs life will go on. Here’s the honest question you have to ask yourself. Is this team more or less likely to be competitive than the team with just Jose and back-filled with crap?