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

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's Not My Money

There are a lot of disappointed fans in regards to this off-season as they feel that the Mets have decided to go on the cheap despite record attendance and a deep trip to the playoffs. However, the Mets are still one of the top spenders and have handled one of the craziest off seasons ever with aplomb. I have no issues with what happened this off-season. The Mets payroll is going to be at about $115 million this upcoming season ($116 million or so while they pay someone to occupy Pedro's spot with Arizona throwing in five million or so for Shawn Green) and there were only three players in Schmidt, Daisuke, Zito that would have significantly helped this team. They needed a frontline starter among everything else.

They made an extremely aggressive and big bid for Daisuke and regrettably lost. They were willing to go for Zito, but not at the price the Giants dished out. Ultimately, they left some negotiating room as you do not just jump out with your best offer. 5 years / $75 million was the base with 6 / $96 probably the upper tier, which would have pushed their payroll over $130 million mark most likely, which is obscene. The Dodgers were smart to jump on Schmidt quickly and get him off the market. The next best starter was Jeff Suppan and he doesn’t appreciably help this team for the Tom Glavine money he is getting. Then you have Weaver, who I wouldn’t mind him for 2 years, but he is looking for a Suppan deal and is a worse pitcher.

I do not believe in spending money to just spend money. At this time, the Mets have a pretty good farm system with two potential aces and three blue chip outfielders. The Mets are willing to deal Milledge in order to get an arm, but Omar is not desperate enough at this point to dish Milledge and another piece off for mediocrity. Spending money does not equal the desire to win. Look at the Yankees cutting down on their payroll as the Red Sox closed the gap to about $20 million in payroll between the two after being about $80 million away.

Omar has been smart for the most part in regards to the Wilpon's money. Most of the contracts signed this off-season will look like the ones signed a few years ago that had the likes of Jeromy Burnitz earning $12,166,667 and teams will be looking to dish them off in the same way. Omar was smart to stay out of the madness and keep an eye on short term deals unless the right player was there.

Furthermore, the Mets really did not have Pedro last season. This year, his recovery seems to be going along as planned and he should be back and in ’05 form at the very least. With a healthy El Duque, Glavine, Pedro, Maine, Humber, Perez, Williams, Pelfrey, and Vargas, the Mets will have a formidable five. The rotation is obviously the wildcard here, but there is considerable upside. The lineup is better than last year, the bullpen looks like it is going to be tight, and I truly think the rotation will fall into place.

Elsewhere, the Cubs are better, but not intelligently built. The have a legitimate ace, but who else after that is really a sure thing to be better than league average? The Phillies pitching looks better on paper and their bullpen is not airtight. The Phillies offense looks better than they are due to the park they play in. The Phillies scored sixteen more runs than the Mets despite playing half of their games at the #9 rank field in terms of park factor for runs while Shea ranked 26th. The Cubs offense ranked 15th despite their field ranking 6th in park factor. The Cubbies added offense, but their biggest issues of being to right handed and having a horrible on base percentage certainly were not addressed. They were the only team to not have an OBP over .320 in bigs outside of Tampa Bay in '06. The Dodgers have some solid pitching, but were ranked 16th in homers in the NL and lost one of their only two guys that hit 20 homers last season.

While I think it is clear the Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers are better, they are not as good as people think they are. It will not be as easy for the Mets in ’07 and we know that. Also, while a lot of people are attributing the Mets 97 wins to some fluky performances by some Met players, I’m not so sure that matters. They upgrade their offense and managed to bring in plenty of intriguing bullpen arms. They are a legit team when it comes to those two areas and this rotation will ultimately be better than the one that brought them to game seven of the NLDS. Zito was one guy I wanted the Mets to reel in this off-season, but not at that kind of money. The trade market is marked with teams trying to extract too much from the Mets so Omar is having a tough time pulling off anything on that front. Given the climate of baseball right now and how other teams engaged the Mets, this team is right where they should be and the Wilpons have been more than generous with their cash and have shown the willingness to spend.

* * *

  • Big Mac breaks his silence.

    "I had an absolutely wonderful career that I am very proud of," McGwire said Friday night at a charity event in Tustin, Calif., benefiting the Orange County Abuse Prevention Center. "I'm not in control of what happens - I was in control of hitting the ball."

  • Bob Klapisch thinks that Willie Randolph deserves better. I think that Omar is being fair and doesn't view him as a top manager with good reason and wants to pay him accordingly. Good teams have a way of making good managers and though Willie was better strategically in '06, he's still lacking quite a bit there.


    Anonymous DG said...

    Head on & point blank, Mike. Some righteous preaching. I think the rotation will be fine as well, probably better than we think and certainly better than the media prognosticators think.

    Klap is probably my favorite Met writer especially now that Heyman is gone (he was good too), but here I side with you.

    12:24 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    The only competition this year is the Phillies, they have a very nice team. I realyl like thier rotation. But they should be scared of thier bullpen. It will not be very good.

    Whether some of the individual AB's may be "fluky" its stupid because alot of players are going to be even better.
    Reyes will get better.
    Wright will get better.
    And Carlos Delgado will most likely be better.
    Beltran should perform to the same standards as last year.

    I love how reporters and fans care soo much about Willie getting resinged YET, whenever they ask Willie about his extention, all he says is "don't worry, something will get done soon".
    So everyone is worried but Willie?

    Whatever, Klapisch needed something to write about. Very slow news days.

    12:55 PM

    Anonymous MikeinSpaininLA said...

    Mike, I think you're highly overestimating our rotation:

    Pelfrey and Humber MIGHT have very good careers and MIGHT be derailed by injuries. Regardless, they both MIGHT NOT have great rookie seasons. Being ready to contribute is one thing; being a solid #3 or #4 on a championship contender is quite another.

    Perez MIGHT develop some consistency.

    Maine MIGHT get beat up more now that NL hitters have seen him. Joe Blanton, among others, was pretty good in his first half-year too, before getting his ass handed to him in his sophomore year.

    Dave Williams MIGHT be Steve Trachsel ('06). Or he MIGHT be Steve Trachsel (05).

    Pedro MIGHT come back healthy, or his body MIGHT break down again after so much time without pitching.

    Oh, and El Duque will be injured part of the season; this much we know. How long MIGHT his DL stint be? Hmm.

    That's a lot of MIGHTS right there for the rotation.

    I'm optomistic about the team, but only because of the lineup and youth. And speaking of youth, I'd love to see Milledge come up this year and give Shawn Green an early retirement. You never know - it might happen.

    2:42 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Mike, the thing is, the more MIGHTS you have, the more chances you have for stuff to go right. Omar couldn't get the big fish, so he is building quality depth. Every might you suggested could happen in the Mets favor, and reasonably so. The chances of none of those things happening is extremely low, and a risk Omar has to take.

    Who doesn't have questions in their rotation? In the expansion era, your rotation is never truly set, gone are the days when you had 5 veterans in your rotation and 2 top-notch rookies in the bullpen or in the minors waiting to be called on. There are not enough arms of that quality to go around anymore. So Omar did all he could reasonably do, go out and get some depth, and strengthen the bullpen to fortify the later innings.

    And with this offense, this team will win.

    Don't the Phillies think they have a great rotation going into every year? The first time that Garcia gives up a 315 foot pop fly homerun, he is going to be in the jar for the rest of the season. We'll smoke the Phillies.

    2:49 PM

    Blogger Kenny said...

    Its time Ken breaks his silence.
    I've been in mourning since Beltran didn't take the bat off his shoulder in Game 7.

    I'm OK with the offseason thus far. Zito would have been great, but I'd prefer the Mets not become the Yankees and overpay for top free agents every year. The rotation should be fine, as should the bullpen. I just hope Dirty comes back strong. I love that guy. Great skills and a great nickname. I'd settle for having either of those things, meanwhile he has both. That's swell.

    The Mets will be in the Series this year. Marty McFly told me so.

    3:17 PM

    Anonymous rick m said...

    We'll smoke the Phillies

    LMAO, great stuff.

    The Wilpons gave Omar a great deal of latitude with the payroll over the last two years, he's showing some good faith in holding the purse strings during a nutso offseason.

    3:47 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Mike and Kenny breaking silence? Truly swellicous.

    There are certainly a lot of mights, but the Mets need five of ten to work and Duque and Glavine are rather projectable with Maine representing something more projectable than the Perez/Humber/Pelfrey/Vargas/Sosa monster. I think three spots are rather solid and even if Pedro returns as a #3 type and no ace they will get buy since their team is so well rounded.

    I'm certainly not naive enough to think thinks cannot blow up and could get really ugly. However, there are enough arms and that I think they will have enough fall into place. I think the Mets will at the very least have four solid pitchers and at the very worst will have to be like everyone else and be forced to toggle between fifths all year.

    Yes, the Mets have rotation questions, but I think Oliver Perez will end the year in the rotation, but the wildcard is him being a 4.90 ERA guy or a 4.00 ERA guy. It is certainly a concern, but I have confidence in Professor Rick getting things together. This is his roughest year yet and has a ton of work cut out for him and we'll see what he is made out of. The upside here is big...very big.

    RE: Pelfrey...I think he can put up a 4.80 to 5.00 ERA at the very worst and be a decent arm. The Mets may never find their ace, but they have the potential to be good one through five. And if Glavine can keep in the groove he was in after finding out about the clot and Pedro's arm keeps bouncing back, things could be really nice.

    Garcia will be ok for the Phillies I do believe since his last park was just as bad as Citizen's Bank Park. I expect similar numbers as '06 and a 4.00 to 4.30 ERA and 1.30 WHIP...solid stuff all around.

    8:08 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Gosh you sound so low on my man Oh-Pea, Mike. But no worries, I will be keeping my optimism of him being a CY candidate this year. Maybe even winner. I'm thinking he's going to win 20 games.

    As for other news, what's this I hear about RUBEN FRIGGIN SIERRA being courted by the Mets? I'm sorry, I thought we were trying to infuse raw YOUTH on the team, not old turds who come to the Mets just to die. Isn't our average age ALREADY pushed up because of Old Man River Franco? Please. Just when I drink the Omar Kool Aid, talk like this makes me really wonder what he's up to. Just what does Sierra bring to the table? Didn't Joe Torre (or one of the spank-mees) call him a turd? If Joe Torre hates someone that much to be quoted on it, its gotta be bad.

    Furthermore, if I hear one more Blanton for Milledge rumor, I'm jumping off a bridge. I just. want. the. season. to. start. NOW!

    12:44 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    last year's mets team gave 15 starts to lima time, geremi gonzalez, and alay soler (approximately 10% of the team's schedule). their combined era in those 15 starts was 7.21. their combined whip was 1.75. these starts were 10% of a season for a 97 win team.

    does anyone, of sound mind, think think that any combination of oliver perez, mike pelphrey, phil humber, dave williams, and jason vargas will be anywhere near as bad as that trio?

    now granted, the starts made by this group of pitchers will probably be somewhere north of 25% and that might have a more material affect on total wins....however, anyone in their right mind has to think that any rotation that doesn't give any starts to lima time has to better than the one that does....regardless of staff aces...

    2:06 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Coop, you are his biggest supporter, but I’m right behind you. Baby steps…lets get his ERA under 5.00 before he wins 20. Though if Trachsel can win 15, Ollie might be able to win 25.

    Don’t worry about the one year deal and such. Minor league invite maybe, but he ain’t goinna be no Met in ’07.

    Yeah, enough with the Blanton rumors already. What can the Mets give A’s of equal value that will make sense for Beane? After what back end guys are getting, Blanton-types are pretty valuable for obvious reasons, but not valuable enough to haul anything useful in a trade. Not sure how it even makes sense for Beane to deal him unless he is colossally ripping someone off.

    last year's mets team gave 15 starts to lima time, geremi gonzalez, and alay soler (approximately 10% of the team's schedule). their combined era in those 15 starts was 7.21. their combined whip was 1.75. these starts were 10% of a season for a 97 win team.

    I’m stealing that one. I’m in agreement that this rotation will be better than last year’s, not that that would be a very hard feat since they were largely mediocre overall. I think the Mets rotation issues are overblown while everyone else’s problems are being dismissed for some reason.

    3:27 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    hey, back from a mindbending trip to senegal and i'm trying to figure out why schoenweis is on the squad. i got real excited when i read the coming trade theory. so that better happen cause otherwise wtf?

    have you all seen the Mets 2006 Tribute Videos Part I and II that are on YouTube. check em out for a rash of goosebumps. only problem is the ending.

    well, if you want to kill time you can see some pictures i took in Senegal at http://photography.jakedenton.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=26

    4:47 PM

    Anonymous Dandy DG McGee said...

    So folks, the Mets 40 man now has 41 players on it after Shoenough (Please!) & Sosa (Not Sammy!) were officially signed. Anyone want to venture who gets cut? I'm thinking maybe Stanbridge or perhaps Ruben Gotay. Then again, I wouldn't put it past Omar to turn Jon Adkins into a middling prospect now that he has like zero chance to make the roster.

    Mike, I expect you'll post the link to Jake's photos! It's too late Paris time to cut and paste.

    7:15 PM

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