September 11, 2013

What Could Ninety Million Dollars Buy The Mets In 2014?

What would you need if you were going to rebuild the New York Mets?  A magic lamp, a genie and three wishes, you say?  All jokes aside, you would need money and young talent.  Truth be told, as the offseason draws near, Sandy Alderson will have both to work with.

In case you've forgotten, here are the major contracts which stand to come off the books this winter:
- Johan Santana ($25.5 million)
- Jason Bay ($18 million)
- Frank Francisco ($6.5 million)

There will be others, but those three alone represent $50 million in team payroll which, with the exception of whatever Francisco gives you in the next three weeks, have contributed absolutely nothing to the cause this season.  Yes, that's right.. the Mets have essentially fielded a $50 million dollar team this season.  While their record probably reflects that, you can see how reallocating that money can improve the!

Its been hypothesized by Sandy Alderson that after raises to folks like Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell (and maybe Ike Davis), that the Mets will enter the offseason with roughly $55 million committed to the 2014 season.  So how much will they spend and more importantly, where will they spend it?

Photo Courtesy of ESPN
The most alarming hole going into the offseason will be the team's outfield.  Believe it or not, the front office should be concerned that it has to replace Marlon Byrd's production.  Enter a player such a Shin-Soo Choo, who the Mets have been linked to as recently as this week, and your talking about a player who will earn an average salary of between twelve and fifteen million dollars.  While that takes a bite out of your budget, it certainly leaves enough to address other areas.

Sandy Alderson has recently expressed an interest in adding a veteran pitcher to the fold this offseason.  How much money will that cost?  Well, Bronson Arroyo has posted two very solid seasons in a row and could command as much as ten million dollars.  I chose Arroyo because he has pitched no fewer than 199 innings every season since 2005.  He's also had an ERA under four, doesn't walk many batters and basically just seems like an Alderson type guy to me.

Photo Courtesy of ESPN
Those two deals by themselves, skyrocket your potential payroll from $55 million to as much as $80 million, and you still have another hole in the outfield to address, may look to improve at shortstop, and then there is that disaster at first base.  So where do we go from there?

In all honesty, I expect the Mets to acquire a second outfielder via trade.  I'm still not convinced that second outfielder will be named Stanton or Gonzalez, but I do anticipate another quality acquisition. The fact that it can be completed via trade (hypothetically, of course) means you have more money to spend elsewhere.  I'm not quite sure there is a guy available who you can conceivably spend more than five to seven million on at shortstop, and at the end of the day I still expect to see Ike Davis get another shot at first.

That leaves you a payroll somewhere from $85 million to $90 million after adding cheaper pieces here and there.  That would mean the Mets would field a much, much better team in the process of lowering their payroll ten million dollars from 2013.  Am I nuts to think that everything I've discussed here is completely plausible?  Does Alderson have the nerve to make such free agent decisions?

The last few years have beaten me down to the point where I'm rarely an optimist, but the team not only needs a big offseason, they have the means to make it happen.  Is a rotation of Wheeler/Niese/Arroyo/Mejia/Gee and a renovated outfield enough to see the Mets turn the corner?  Because that what $90 million and the departure of some quality prospects probably buys you in 2014.

Like what you've read?  You can follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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