In my opinion, the entire way Omar deals with these Winter Meetings starts with if he intends to go after Carlos Beltran or not. The bottom line is if the Mets choose to go after Beltran and they seriously think they have a shot at Beltran, they need to bring in Sexson or Delgado for insurance in case he slips away. If they feel that have a slim chance of getting him, they need to really really need to jump on Sexson or Delgado. If they feel they are not going to chase Beltran, they need to bring in Sexson or Delgado. See a pattern here? The outfield can be filled in house if need be, 1b cannot.
As the Houston Chronicle
reported yesterday, the Astros are set to give Carlos Beltran a six or seven year deal worth around $13.5 million per season. Furthermore, the article says that the Astros were told Beltran is "yours to lose"
. The offer is just an initial one and a good starting point. Will Beltran go for $13.5 million per year? I don't think so.
"We would be doing a disservice to our fans not to look at the opportunity,"
-Arte Moreno on Carlos Beltran
Mets Committed Payroll for 2005 so far:
They are at about $72,000,000 with the Kris Benson signing in terms of payroll. They still need one starting pitcher, a right fielder, a starting first baseman, four relievers, one backup infielder, and the last spot is for another bench player or another bullpen arm.
Obviously the Mets have Victor Diaz, Aaron Heilman, Keith Ginter, Bartolome Fortunado, Heath Bell, Orber Moreno, Scott Strickland, Grant Roberts, Tyler Yates etc. so they can fill the bullpen mostly with young in house guys and add a free agent reliever and the RF and SP spot could get taken care of in house if all else fails and for a cheap price. Now, let's go over a few scenarios that would fit within their payroll constraints. Let's keep in mind the Mets will basically have $35 million to fill these spots.
We'll start with the idea that Omar plans to give this Carlos Beltran idea a go. I fully expect him to be on of the last guys standing in the free agent market, unless he actually has an opinion where he wants to go and will take their offer if it is reasonable. In that case, it won't be the Mets. It would be Anaheim or Houston. Landing Beltran is a risky proposition because waiting for him may leave an opening for people to steal other viable options. So, in my opinion, if you go for Beltran, you have to pick up a big bat for first base which means they have to get Sexson or Delgado or even Nick Johnson in a trade, who isn't the biggest bat, but he's no slouch. Now the Johnson thing is a stretch to get done soon, so that idea is not so hot and really should be depended on. If give the chance I'd see Bowden holding on to Johnson and moving Chavez or Sledge to make room for Guillen.
Out of Sexson and Delgado I am in favor of Sexson. He's three years younger and can play the outfield in a pinch. Everyone points to Delgado's batting average and OBP as a huge advantage that Delgado has, but He has hit under .280 six times since 1996 and topped .300 twice with a MONSTER year in 2000. He does get on base more, but Richie has been improving. Give me Richie. I know that was a rudimentary comparison, so shoot me.
$10 million for Richie
$6 million to round out the bullpen/bench
That leaves about $18 million left for starting pitcher and Carlos Beltran. Keeping in mind Wilpon paid almost $6 million in buyouts at the end of this season, so if the Mets lands Beltran, it would seem that Heilman would be the fifth starter with Beltran getting inked for about $15 million. Is that necessarily bad to have Heilman get the fifth spot? Nope. That team is actually pretty damn good and is at about $104 million. That leaves a million to play with for the pen or bench and gives the Mets with two backup starting pitchers in Seo and Ginter with Keppel, Soler, or even Petit ready by late 2005. If Beltran does not sign the Mets have Diaz start in right and still get that big bat in Sexson while the Mets payroll stands at about $89 million. Now at time if Beltran bolts and Diaz gets the job, the Mets could look back to the rotation and see if Lowe is still around or try and fill right with a bat. There may still some options to play with that leftover money.
This one figures on the Mets wanting to lock down that last spot in the rotation with a major league proven guy that can slot into the #1 or #2 spot. In this case, you can fit Beltran in with a cheap first baseman like Olerud or Mientkiewicz, but I do not think there is a person in the world that can guarantee me that the Mets will land Carlos. There is no way the Mets can add Sexson/Delgado, Beltran, and a big name pitcher while taking care of the pen and the bench. That would take them over $110 million and at close to $117 million with the buyouts included. If he would go that high, then fantastic by all means try and get everyone you can. In reality you will have the entire outfield, infield, rotation, bullpen, and most of the bench set with Piazza's contract coming off the books and Glavine's salary going down $6 million. That is $21 million in 2005 coming off the books. The Mets could be at about $100 million with a very very good and young team in 2006 if Wilpon would be willing to go that high. But since we are playing with $105 million only, forget that idea.
So if Omar decides to upgrade the rotation, JD Drew or Magglio Ordonez would fit the best for right. I think the Mets can reasonably make sure Magglio is in good shape and if they decide he is, I think he is your guy. Take a look at the guy's numbers, he is good, really good. He may be a better pure hitter than Beltran and if he was healthy, he would be a close second to him in terms of desirability out of any position players this off season. He could be a complete steal if he is healthy.
$10 million for Magglio
$10 million for Sexson
$8 million for Clement
$6 million for the bullpen/bench
That fills every open spot bringing the Mets to about $106 million dollars and fielding a solid starting five and a good offensive and defensive ball club. I really like this lineup since it provides the Mets with Diaz as a call up in AAA if needed and half a season to work on taking a pitch while the Mets could prime Floyd for a mid season trade. It also provides plenty of starting pitching options if someone goes down in the rotation with Seo, Heilman and Ginter ready to step in from day one. This option really creates the deepest team.
As for starting pitching I still prefer Clement. I do think Omar bringing in Pedro would be a waste of money since I think Clement could be devastating this year for a lot less money. As for Pavano, the reason I'm not high on him is because he does not make people swing and miss and had his best season last year by far and away. I'm not convinced he deserves the $10+ million he is looking for. The Met need a guy that will knock down 9 to 10 k's per nine innings instead of another guy who puts the ball in play.
This scenario basically is Art Howe's dream with balancing the lineup and rotation with plenty of lefties and switch hitters to always have the lefty right match ups at any given time. This one nets Carlos to play centerfield, brings in Odalis Perez to for the fifth spot and gets John Olerud or Doug M. for first base.
$15 million for Carlos
$4.5 million for Olerud or Doug M.
$6 million the Odalis Perez
$6 million for the bench/bullpen
This leaves the Mets at about $103.5 million, but everything has to basically go right. They have to get Beltran to make this team an effective team in 2005. If they come out of the gate in the Winter Meetings and just lay out an offer he cannot refuse, who knows, maybe it can happen. This lineup would have three switch hitters and two lefties with a rotation that still includes two lefties. Also, if Doug is the first baseman they land, they Mets will get three key players who are 28 and under. Problem as I stated, you miss Beltran, you could have a weak lineup.
Scenario #4 (aka Omar's Wet Dream)
This one is least appealing choice in anyone's book I'm sure. This one has Sammy Sosa. The Mets will most likely have sent off Mike Piazza in this case and replaced the face of the franchise with Sammy Sosa (speaking of the three way deal with the Dodgers that MetsBlog.com has mused about) unless the Mets can convince the Cubbies to pick up Floyd's entire salary and throw in about $8 million for Sosa's salary and buyout. Omar also brings in Pedro Martinez after guaranteeing a fourth year and gives Pedro about $15 million dollars per year to sweeten the deal. Minaya then replaces Piazza with Henry Blanco to anchor down the staff.
$15 million for Pedro
$2 million extra for Sosa’s salary than Piazza’s salary
$1.25 million for Blanco
$6 million for the bullpen/bench
$5 mill for first base
This team for about $103 million makes me want to lose my breakfast.
This one says Piazza stays and Mets cannot ditch Piazza or Floyd for Sosa. Magically, Pedro also lands in Shea but the Mets fail to actually bring in a big outfield bat and manage to bring in a big first baseman. Strangely enough, this scenario may happen if the Mets push hard enough for Pedro.
$13.5 million for Pedro
$10 million for Sexson/Delgado
$6 million for bench/bullpen
This entire team costs about $103 million too and would not be the worst team Omar could assemble. Again, not a fan of spending so much on Pedro, but I’m not going to complain because he still has good baseball left in him. Diaz gets the nod in right and all in all, things could be worse…like directly below or directly above.
Scenario #6 & #7
The Mets boringly fill in their empty spots with Richard Hidalgo, a Jermaine Dye type, or just use Diaz in right while trying to bring in no pitcher and use Heilman or a reclamation project like Derek Lowe or Kevin Millwood, and bring in Olerud or Minky to hold down first with a stellar glove and to bat eight in the lineup.
$5 million for Hidalgo or Dye-type
$4.5 million for Olerud/Minky
$7 million for Millwood or Lowe
$6 million for the bench/bullpen
$ 6 million for bullpen/bench
$ 5 million for first base
These are Wilpon's favorite situations as it leaves the team's payroll under $95 million in Scenario #6 and under $85 million in Scenario #7. At least Scenario #6 gives the illusion of trying to improve the team although it is a completely lackluster and disappointing off season that would basically leave the Mets fighting for third place at best. When faced with #6, I’d rather not pick up anyone but a first baseman and go with Heilman and Diaz and have Scenario #7 play out. Either one of these would be rather disappointing with the available bats and arms this off season. Luckily, both of these have little to no chance of happening with Omar looking to make a huge splash.
When all the dust clears, I think Omar is going to have to stay around that $105 million dollars. The fact remains the Wilpon lost about $20 million in 2003 and probably broke even in 2004. He also paid about $7 million in buyouts at the end of the season and is still paying Nelson Doubleday back for the $140 million he bought Doubleday's stake in the Mets for. As if that were not enough, he did a lot of front office overhauling and is paying Jim Duquette GM money to not be the GM and still paying Art Howe almost $2.5 million dollars a season for the next two seasons. It's easy to say that the Mets can stretch if another $5 million to fill all their needs, but I think Wilpon is already stretching it until he can draw 3,000,000 fans or until the network starts bringing in some real revenue. Once you add in all those extras like the new staff, the buyouts, Art Howe's money, etc. The Mets are knocking on $118 million dollars’ door and Wilpon is still paying back Doubleday for at least a few more years. I think $105 is going to be the magic number that Wilpon is willing and that includes any special players. With all that in mind, which scenario would you like to see play or what other scenario would you rather see?
* * *
Thanks to Ariel (aka Benny from the Bronx) for pointing out one of the craziest demands I've heard. I say good for the D-Backs. They know how bad the Yankees want this to go down and they know they got nothing to show for Schilling and for all those regulars they gave up for Sexson. The bottom line is they need something and something big for this future Hall of Famer.
Arizona was asking New York for a package which included Javier Vazquez, Tom Gordon, prospects Eric Duncan and Chien-Ming Wang, another prospect and cash considerations between $12-20 million. The Diamondbacks also asked the Yankees to acquire another pitcher from a list of 10 -- Oakland's Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, Florida's A.J. Burnett, Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, Toronto's Ted Lilly, Los Angeles' Edwin Jackson, Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir, Colorado's Shawn Chacon and Jason Jennings, and Texas' Kenny Rogers -- to include in the deal as well.
First off, does anyone know how Rogers fits into that crew? Second, it’s nice to see two former Mets products in Burnett and Kazmir on that select group of ten also.
According to ESPN, they also requested Vazquez, Tom Gordon, pitcher Brad Halsey, several prospects and the cash to pay the salaries of both Vazquez and Gordon at one point.
STICK IT TO THE MAN D-BACKS. Besides, if you look at what Victor Zambrano gets you, it stands to reason that Randy Johnson should net about 1000% more.
ESPN says the Yankees have said thanks, but no thanks although people have their doubts as to whether or not that is exactly true.
One last quote from the ESPN article:
"Even the Yankees have their limits," the executive said, "whether anyone wants to believe that or not."
I'd have to agree, they do have their limits and it looks like this off season is going to test those limits.
Thanks to C. Webb for pointing out that Kendry Morales has signed a six year deal with the Anaheim Angels for about $10 million plus incentives. He was looking for a similar deal to Texeira and the Angels had said they may use the money they were going to spend on Jared Weaver and use it on Morales. Things could get interesting on the Weaver front. Also, Rich Lederer brings up a good point that this perhaps makes Casey Kotchman available. If the Angels choose to chase Randy Johnson again, Kotchman can become the centerpiece with John Lackey, either Jeff DaVanon or Juan Rivera, Alfredo Amezaga or Maicer Izturis, plus one of their middle relievers in as much as a five-for-one deal for the Big Unit. Very good point and this will be interesting to follow.
Note to Jared: Fire Scott Boras if you'd like to play in the majors...you too Stephen Drew.
I missed this from Mets.com's mailbag:
As for top pick Phil Humber, the club is inching closer toward an agreement with him. Humber wants a deal that includes a $3.6 million signing bonus and nearly $6 million in salary, and it doesn't appear that's not going to happen. Still, the Mets have traditionally had little trouble signing players and Humber should be in camp come February.
Straight out of the no shit category, Giambi admitted he used steroids.
No worries Jason, despite you denying it, we all knew. I wonder if the Yankees will try and void his contract? I don't think it will ever get done, but I can see George trying.
Peter Schmuck is truly that...a schmuck. He is maligning the Pedro Martinez offer from the Mets. Fist off, no one from Baltimore has the right to speak of any other team running in an inefficient manor. I really hate when people outside NY bash my favorite team, especially when their team is in disarray. They've created quite a team there, in fact, they would be well advised to bring in Martinez due to the fact their ace is Sidney Ponson. I repeat again, SIDNEY PONSON!!!! Add in the fact he points to the Mets bad record last year disregarding the plethora of injuries. Given the Mets farm system and current team, there is no doubt they are in a better spot than the Orioles and will win sooner. Pedro can help this team next year and even three years from now. Despite the fact I think the money could be spent better, by no means is he a bad pickup. How bad is it really to pick up a pitcher who would immediately become the ace of a team? The answer: Not that bad. Maybe the Orioles should try that.