Mack and Company: - Where To Spend $20-25mil


Mack:  Okay... Sandy Alderson just told Matt Cerrone that the Mets have "around $20-25mil to spend" this year in the off-season. Take it away guys...
David Groveman: - So, a max ceiling $10 Mil below what I have deemed the big market poverty level. How to spend $20-25 Mil and make my team better? I need to see who gets arbitration. Frankly... I'm leaning towards signing that Cuban OF.

You want to confuse people? Mets sign Pujols and fill the rest of the team from the minors.
Erik Hudson: - Are we sure that's for the 25-man roster?  And when is the next revision downward, and how many of those do we expect? Is this money to spend after accounting for arbitration raises, or just after accounting for the guaranteed contracts for next year? Just thinking cynically that they are, wanting to make it sound like we have more money to spend than we do.  Kind of like signing Reyes was our top priority. Pagan and Pelfrey probably get 10-11M through arbitration.  I would hope that it's 20-25M after accounting for the arbitration guys, but I'm thinking probably not. And those two take up half of what you have to spend.

http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/12/alderson-has-10-15-million-to-spend-on-17-roster-spots.html - This afternoon in Dallas, Sandy Alderson told reporters that the Mets have between $20 and $25 million to spend this off-season, but that range includes paying Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan who will likely earn roughly $10 million in arbitration. That leaves approximately $10-15 million to spend on 17 other roster spots. It also means, Alderson must have misspoke again when he said that payroll would be the same with or without Reyes. That’s happening a lot these days.

Sandy seems to throw out these statements that he knows the fans will take one way, and will calm them down a bit, but he really is talking something else.   $20-25M for additional players, on top of who we had last year and are still under control is quite different from $20-25M for everyone who doesn't have a guaranteed contract.

Not much you can do with that, except fill out the roster with a lot of minimum salary guys, unless you non-tender or trade Pelfrey and/or Pagan or trade someone else.
Mack: -  okay… right now, the Mets have $64mil committed to six players. Add $11 more for Pelfrey and Pagan… now add $500,000 each for: Thole, Davis, Murphy, Turner, Tejada, Gee, Beato, Duda, Acosta, Niese, Parnell,  and Herrera.  That’s now $81mil for 20 players. What’s next?
Charles Thompson: - Lets call it $25 million.  First thing I do is call  J.P. Riccardi and Paul Depodesta and tell him to grab their magic computers and head on over to my office; bring an extra charger too cause its gonna be a long night.  Second, I tell my secretary to throw on a pot of coffee and order up some hot wings... DePo gets grouchy if not stuffed to the brim with blue cheese.  Now, once that's settled and I know Fred has tucked Jeff in bed for the night and we won't be interrupted with any of his nightly requests to have a "front office Angry Birds" competition, the first area I'd look to upgrade is the bullpen.  Now, that's the end of my "I'm Sandy Alderson" hypothetical and from here on out, its all me...Since the Mets don't have the cash for a true ace closer, they must IMO sign at least two proven setup guys like Jon Rouch and  Matt Capps.  I'd prefer a right and a lefty.  This way depending on the eighth and ninth situation, you could match up which guy is the best.  However, if the Mets sign someone like Lidge, then they'll never do that and should definitely get a proven eighth inning guy( J. Rouch ) to bridge that gap.  Also, I'm looking for a center fielder to push Angel Pagan to the bench.  If they seriously look to move Jason Bay to center it opens so many possibilities.  The Mets could sign a much needed bat to help recover some of the offense they're losing with Reyes' departure.  Cuddyer or Johnny Damon would work.  Damon could move right into the lead-off spot and really help much more so then Angel in the top slot.  Angel is a downer...I'm really not trying to talk bad about him, but when he slumps he seems to get really down on himself and can't seem to turn the page.  The Mets can't afford to hope that the good Angel Pagan shows up. If they can push him to the fourth outfielder spot that would really strengthen the team.  Unfortunately, the Mets need an insurance policy starting pitcher in case one if their starting five go down.  Someone other than Chris Young who is coming off his own shoulder surgery, because if you sign him, you'll need to sign another starting pitcher to be your insurance policy for your insurance policy. Johan hopefully will come back strong, but right now the Mets have their five man starting rotation and if his shoulder gives out, I wouldn't want Chris Schwinden as my backup.  Same goes for Young because who says his shoulder injury is going to be completely healed? Perhaps Bartolo Colon or Dontrelle Willis. Now, since I have no idea what this will cost, I don't know if it’s possible.  However, they will address the bullpen and a starting pitcher...I just hope they can fit in some offense as well.  Just hoping they can be competitive this year and as long as they stay healthy...they'll compete.  How well though is any one's guess.

Michel Friere: - I think the Mets plan on targeting the bullpen, first and foremost (maybe two or even three low cost additions).   Perhaps another veteran starter or two for the rotation competition in Spring Training and a veteran platoon catcher.   Outside of that, if they can upgrade another position for now and the future (like CF), that would be on the list, too. However, I don't think Sandy and Co will spend money just to reach a "loose" budget.   Rather, they will address the listed openings and if they spend the entire surplus, so be it.  Otherwise, it would seem more prudent to spend wisely, rather then just to spend a set amount.

Jack Flynn: - Cot's Contracts suggests that $64 mill is committed to five players. Pelfrey and Pagan's arb awards means that about $75 million would be dedicated to seven people. Assuming the 12 guys you mentioned make the team, the Opening Day Roster would look something like this:
SP- Santana
SP- Dickey
SP- Pelfrey
SP- Gee
SP- Niese
RP- Carrasco
RP- Beato
RP- Acosta
RP- Parnell
RP- Herrera
 C- Thole
1B- Davis
2B- Murphy
3B- Wright
SS- Tejada
LF- Bay
CF- Pagan
RF- Duda
IF- Turner

The team you're running out there right now is probably a 75- to 80-win team, depending on how much Santana pitches. That leaves room for two relievers, a backup catcher, another infielder and two outfielders. The payroll estimate changes every day, but assuming the Mets are going to $100 million, it leaves them $20 million to use to fill out the roster.

Free agency is not the entire answer. The Mets could budget, say, $6 million for two relievers. One of whom should be an older reliever on a one-year deal with closer experience, who will have the inside track on the closer job but could be pushed by Beato or by Parnell (God help us all). Octavio Dotel would be a perfect fit there and probably could be gotten for four million dollars and a club option. The other reliever should be left-handed, but should NOT be a specialist. Alderson should be looking for someone with a track record of success against batters from both sides of the plate, who because of injury or ineffectiveness is searching for a contract this year. George Sherrill has been pigeon-holed as a left specialist, but except for a disastrous 2010 has been relatively effective against righties as well. Dotel and Sherrill will provide temporary effective solutions at reasonable cost, without getting in the way of some of the younger arms in the pen.

Thole is the starter, so any generic right-handed catcher who hits lefties well can be his platoon partner. Spend no more than $2 million here. Duda needs a similar complement in right field - same financial rules apply. That leaves $10 million in "salary absorption opportunities" from other teams through trades.

Tejada has been penciled in at shortstop with Jose Reyes's departure, but he plays second base as well. That means Alderson can scout the league and try to pick up a talented second baseman or shortstop who is about to become too expensive for someone else and play Tejada on the other side of the field. If Sandy trades for a shortstop, Tejada and Murphy can split time at second base until one of them wrests the job away from the other.

Pagan is more of a fourth outfielder or a bottom-of-the-order third outfielder on a championship team, but all signs indicate that he's the starting center fielder in Queens in 2012. That is, unless Sandy unearths a center fielder on the trade market good enough to push Pagan back into that reserve role. Terry Collins could then give him 10 starts in center field, 20 in left field and 30 in right field, while using him as a defensive replacement all over the diamond.

A good middle infielder and a good center fielder will likely stretch the $10 million surplus into the $15 or $20 million range, but that still means the payroll will be under $110 million. Not unreasonable.

Extra thoughts: If the payroll has a hard cap at $100 million, the Mets can do one of two things non-tender Pelfrey and Pagan or dump their contracts in Spring Training. There are enough Buffalo arms that can battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, and there's always a terrible veteran who will pitch for $750K if the Triple-A options are particularly bad. Alderson won't want to non-tender Pagan unless he swings a deal for a CF quickly, but I suspect the Mets could easily dump his salary before Opening Day and get a C-level prospect in return, given Angel's speed and defense.


Charles said...

This 20 to 25 million to spend is another lie from the mets about.payroll. Recently during an interview with a bunch of mets bloggers, Alderson said that if Reyes want resigned, that the money that was going to go to Jose would then be put into other players for this years payroll. Well, I think they already skimmed about five million from that. Sandy had said their offer to Reyes was about 75-85 million over 5 yrs. That's basically 15-17 mill a year. Plus they were going to sign a closer regardless of whether Jose signed. In guessing at least 4 million. Also, does anyone believe they weren't going to tender Pelfrey and Pagan contracts if Jose resigned? I don't, they were, and that means another 10 million. So, add all that up and your left with closer to 30 million, not this 20 to 25 bull shit. I'm sorry but this is horse shit. An extra five million on this team would help big time and I can't figure their math. There figure only works if Reyes' contract was back loaded, they didn't plan on keeping both Pelf and Pagan, or they weren't going to sign a closer. Am I wrong? If so do tell.

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