Saturday, November 01, 2014

N.Y. Mets: Let The Off-Season Begin

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: Stick Those Few Free Agent Dollars Back In The Piggy Bank, And Focus On The Trade Market.

That's a wrap; the World Series is done.  Let the off-season begin.

Mets fans however, had better prepare themselves for a quiet, dark, and cold winter.  There will be little activity to speak of, and few logs afforded by the front office for the (hot) stove.

The annual free agent period will open shortly, and here's what we need to know.

Speaking back in September with regards to improving the team through free agency, Sandy Alderson described the Mets financial situation as prohibitive.

He also went on to say, "We'll have some flexibility.  We'll be able to do some things.  We just have to see what's there."

Fair enough, because that's perhaps the most honest assessment he's rendered over the last 3 years.  In fact, I applaud his pragmatism.  Finally.

This year's free agent class. however, features no one the Mets should be pushing other teams out of the way for.  So, for Mets fans, Sandy Alderson, and ownership, there appears to be a convenient common ground this off-season.

The Mets entered 2014 with somewhere near $88 million in payroll, and finished the season slightly above $83 million.  Next season, payroll will increase whether the club likes it or not, and that's even before figuring a potential free agent.

In 2015, Bartolo Colon's salary goes up by $2 million (to $11 million), and Curtis Granderson's swells by $3 million (to $16 million dollars).

They should also expect to dole out handsome raises in arbitration to Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, and Jenrry Mejia.

We can only speculate the club's plans for their remaining arbitration eligible: Ruben Tejada, Eric Young, Buddy Carlyle, and Dana Eveland.  Non-tendering them, however, does not afford the Mets sufficient relief.
  • See Baseball Reference > The Mets are getting off light this season.  It will cost them roughly $20 million to retain their arbitration eligible players.  Of the current Mets, 15 will be arbitration eligible next year, and upwards of 20 by 2016.  By then, they'll potentially be paying in the neighborhood of $60 million in arbitration alone.
In 2014, the Mets finally snapped 5 straight years of declining attendance at Citi Field.  But, not by much - just barely in fact.  From a Citi Field high of 3.1 million fans in 2009, attendance steadily dropped down to 2,135,657 by 2013.  Last year, 2,148,808 fans spun the turnstiles - a modest increase of 13,151 patrons.  Again, that hardly lifts ownership's financial situation.

Lastly, (as if we fans need reminding), ownership still has massive debt issues.  Somehow, that just doesn't get talked about much lately, or to the extent their financial woes should.

O the field, what the Mets need are a shortstop, and a corner outfielder.  To be more precise, the Mets need middle of the order power - a slugger.

There are no available shortstops who fit that description, unless the Mets are foolish enough to court Hanley Ramirez.  (please don't)

The outfield market includes Melkey Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Cuddyer - none of which particularly interests me.

Nelson Cruz at least showed he's predisposed to accepting a one-year contract.  Baltimore paid a mere $8 million for his services in 2014, and Cruz in turn led the A.L. with a career high 40 home runs.  Although outside of Camden Yards, I'm sure that home run number reverts back to his Texas averages.  However, with a one-year deal and a raise, Cruz could serve the Mets offensive needs well.

Outside of that, I'm afraid there's little else the Mets can do to impact the offense through free agency this Fall.

That said, the Mets might be better off sticking their dollars back in their pocket this off-season, and focus more on the winter meetings and the trade market.


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