Friday, October 11, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Sizing Up Next Year's Payroll And Pitfalls

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: So Just How Much Is Mr. Wilpon Willing To Spend Anyway?

Jonathon Niese and David Wright will cost the Mets a combined $25 million dollars to operate next season.  They are the only two players under contract beyond the 2014 season.

The Mets have eleven arbitration eligible players: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Eric Young, Mike Baxter, Justin Turner, Bobby Parnell, Scott Atchison, Omar Quintanilla and Ruben Tejada.  I personally would grant Atchison, Quintanilla and Baxter their free agency. 

The following are no brainers: Daniel Murphy enjoyed a career year, and should realize a substantial increase from his $2.9 million salary.  With double-digit victories, Dillon Gee should likewise see a considerable increase in pay.  He made just over a half-million dollars last season.  The Mets can expect to shell out roughly six million-plus dollars next season for the pair.  Bobby Parnell, who earned $1.7 million last season, effectively staked his claim to the closer's role.  He will be coming off neck surgery, but is expected to recover.  Expect him to get bumped up to $3 million or so.

Eric Young Jr. led the National League in stolen bases.  That should be enough to get him into the millionaire's club.  Players almost never lose, and so Justin Turner will get a raise too.  The pair should cost the Mets around another $3 million to retain.

So far, we have spent $37.5 million.

There is a reason why Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada were left for last.  What the hell do we do with them now?  The 2013 season was supposed to solve some team issues.  Instead, we came out even more problems.  Despite doing everything possible to give away his starting job, the Mets are lacking a shortstop that can adequately replace Ruben Tejada.  He might cost the Mets a million.  Outfield is no longer an option for Lucas Duda.  That leaves him and Ike Davis fighting it out for first base.  Or does it?  It would be difficult to let either one just walk away for nothing.  If both are offered arbitration, one would certainly have to begin the season in Las Vegas.  Another option is one gets traded during the off-season.  My over-riding sentiment is, this competition needs to end.  The time has come to make a definitive decision on one, or the other.  Where ever possible, the make-up of this team heading into the 2014 season needs to change.  Ike could only get see a marginal raise after last season.  The Mets should be able to keep him for under $4 million.  Lucas Duda however could possibly get bumped up to as much as $2 million next season.

Let's average this all out, and put the Mets at $40 million so far.

LaTroy Hawkins wants to continue pitching, and the Mets would be wise to resign him.  He made $1 million last season.  Let's give him a half-million dollar raise, and plug in Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud for the major league minimum.
I will add another six players who will also make the major league minimum.  You can argue over who they will be: Matt den Dekker, Germen Gonzalez, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, Wilmer Flores, Josh Satin, Wilfredo Tovar, Anthony Recker, Carlos Torres, or other.

That brings the Mets 2014 bill up to $46 million, with six more roster spots to fill.

Sandy Alderson said he will be active in the free agent market.  So let's spend some more of Wilpon's money then.  Say the Mets sign two major free agents this off-season, that cost sixteen and twenty-one million per season each.  That would bring the Mets 2014 expenditure to $83 million dollars, with four more roster spots to fill.

Fortifying the starting rotation should bring the club to $90 million dollars.  If the Mets pick up the option on Johan Santana's contract, the number goes up.

Will Mr. Wilpon dare approach this number?

Attendance at Citi Field had dropped in each of the years since it opened.  Ownership already forecasted and announced their 2014 projected $10 million dollar loss last year.  Currently, their money is mostly spoken for.  The people refinancing ownerships debt load are making sure of that.  The Mets are additionally looking to renegotiate another $250 dollars....again.  A NYPost report says Mr. Wilpon will look to arrange that over the Winter, but supposedly this will not effect 2014's player salary budget.  I honestly do not see that ownership will have any potential cash flow for the upcoming season.  Meanwhile, Sandy Alderson still needs to know what he'll be allowed to spend soon.

Another question is, how closely should the 2014 Mets resemble the team of the last two years?  Many of the above players have contributed to an overall 148-176 record.  Perhaps the Mets could benefit from trading some of their more valuable players for the sake of finally changing the direction of this club.  They certainly need to cut the chord with others.

P.S.  Bobby Bonilla is still on the books!


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