A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dollars and Cents

I figure since so many people are starting to hear the fat lady singing, I’ll satiate their need for info for next year. Free agency 2004/2005 will be here before you know it.

This was going to be called Dollars and Sense, but that was too corny.

Below is the estimated Mets payroll for this year.  There were a few guesses in there like how much Cedeno is getting paid by the Mets this year, how much of Vaughn's contract are they on the hook for that insurance is not paying, how much of DeJean's contract are they paying for, etc.  I also wanted to take a look at what the payroll is shaping up to look like next year and what holes will the need to plug with that money.  I have a bad habit of looking ahead and at this point I think some others may be looking ahead too. 

Mike Piazza      $16,071,429
Cliff Floyd         $6,500,000
Kazuo Matsui   $5,066,667
Roger Cedeno   $4,500,000
Mike Cameron  $4,333,333
Mo Vaughn        $4,291,667
Richard Hidalgo $4,000,000
Todd Zeile          $1,000,000
Vance Wilson     $715,000
Shane Spencer  $540,000
Joe McEwiing    $500,000
Jason Phillips     $318,000
Ty Wigginton     $316,000
Jose Reyes         $307,500
Eric Valent         $300,000
David Wright     $300,000
Tom Glavine      $10,765,608
Al Leiter             $10,295,600
Steve Traschel  $5,000,000
Mike Stanton     $3,000,000
Braden Looper   $2,000,000
John Franco       $1,100,000
Scott Erickson    $700,000
Scott Strickland $650,000
Mike DeJean      $600,000
Ricky Bottalico   $500,000 (guess)
Jae Seo                $350,000 (guess)
Orber Moreno    $317,500
Dan Wheeler       $311,500

By just subtracting the people who are not under contract for next year, I came down to the approximate figure of $ 67,000,000 for committed major league payroll including that bum Cedeno.  Give or take a few million, it is pretty close.   That does not include any buyouts either. 

The main players from this year's team that will be either out of contract or their options will not be picked up are Leiter, Franco, DeJean, Erickson, Bottalico, Vaughn, Hidalgo, Zeile, and Spencer.  It is safe to assume Erickson, Zeile, and Vaughn will most certainly not be picked up in 2005.  That leaves Leiter, Franco, Bottalico, Hidalgo, DeJean and Spencer who would be on the Mets radar to be resigned.  Zeile has said he is done after this year, I'd have to believe him despite any desire for the Mets to have him return if Wigginton happens to be traded.   

The Mets will be looking to fill two starting pitching holes , two bullpen holes, right field, and one bench spot.  If Ty or McEwing get moved, then there will obviously be another hole to fill, but right now, I'll pretend they are both here for the longhaul.  Besides, if McEwing was moved, then Danny Garcia would presumably replace his spot and assume the same type of role.  I have assumed Strickland will be in the bullpen so he fills one of the vacated spots or else they would be looking for three relievers.

The first starting pitching hole may be filled by Leiter if he wants too return, which he said he would like to.  I could not see Met management turn him down if he was willing to give it another year and it makes sense in some capacity since your studs would most likely need another year of seasoning and he can bridge that gap next year so they will not be rushed.  I do have my apprehensions since his arm is in danger of falling off his body on any given pitch. That would really leave one spot in the rotation since it would appear that Seo would hold down the fifth spot in the rotation.  In 11 of his last 15 games he has not allowed more than three runs and has pitched really well in addition to being an offensive threat and threat on the basepaths. 

The guys who are out there:
Aaron Sele, Omar Daal, Orlando Hernandez, Esteban Loaiza, Pat Hentagen, Russ Ortiz, Matt Clement, Carl Pavano, Odalis Perez, Scott Erickson, Al Leiter, Kevin Millwood,Eric Milton, Kris Benson, Matt Morris, Ismael Valdez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Brad Radke

The bullpen is really something that needs to upgraded badly.  This is the most glaring weakness and it needs to be addressed.  By biggest fear is that Franco wants to return and Wilpon lets him.  Franco should be cut right now.  He should not even be on the field.  If Franco has any pride, he should pack it up after this year.  He is just asking for further embarrassment if he returns.  Ideally he doesn't come back and Strickland is able to return which leaves two vacated spots. 

The guys who are out there:
Mike DeJean, Scott Williamson, Brad Radke, Eddie Guardado (mutual option, which will most likely be excercised), Ron Villone, Ricky Bottalico, John Franco, Rheal Cormier, Steve Kline, BJ Ryan, Felix Rodriguez, Bob Howry

The right field spot is the position that has the biggest impact player that the Mets can get.  It is obvious who they should go for, but with Hidalgo's recent play, they Met management may decide to take the cheaper route and spend money elsewhere or just save the difference all together.   This upcoming free agent class is pretty deep in terms of solid outfielders with two superstars.  The Mets need a superstar and with Piazza's $15,000,000 coming off the books in '06, there should be no money excuses.  My fear is the Mets will once again shy away from the mega-stars as they usually do. The X-factor here is the recent developments with Cliff Floyd. His body hurts and he may want out. That may leave two vacated spots.

The guys who are out there:
Magglio Ordonez, Jermaine Dye, J.D. Drew, Carlos Beltran, Richard Hidalgo, Jacque Jones, Mouses Alou, Milton Bradley,

Guys from Norfolk that may help: Victor Diaz, Prentice Redman

The last bench spot would need to go to a backup outfielder.  With only Valent on the bench and a maybe guy in left who has a habit of getting hurt (if Ciffy stays), it would be taking a chance to only go with Valent and the idea that McEwing can play in the outfield if needed.  With all the alternatives out there, it would be nice to Spencer return.  There are not a plethora of choices in terms of a good outfield bat off the bench and Spencer has been good so far, so that is the best choice to make. 

The guys who are out there:
Karim Garcia, Shane Spencer, Raul Mondesi, Mary Cordova, BJ Surhoff, Rubin Sierra, David Delucci, Brian Jordan, John VanderWal, Will Cordero, Mark Sweeny, Todd Hollandsworth, Doug Glanville, Gerald Williams, Ray Lankford, Darren Bragg

Once would have to figure that the Mets could spend about 27 to 30 million this off-season if they decided to open up the purse strings.  The Mets could put together an extremely competitive team that would be division favorites if they play their cards right.  Plus the Mets could stand to overspend with the amount of money coming off the books in '05 and again in '06.  Their payroll could still be under 100 million and still have one of the top teams in the league. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it turn out, but by my miscalculations you can have your cake and eat it too if you are the Mets management in 2005. You can bring in some big names and stay under 100 million in payroll.