Monday, December 14, 2009

The Halladay/Lackey Aftermath

I, like many other of the Mets people out there, don't see this as the end of the world. I'm sure that many people are in a panic right now, and that when the papers come out tomorrow that it will be littered with columns criticizing Minaya and co. for his non-action. But that's silly. There is still a ton of offseason left to go.

More importantly, these trades and signings have drastically altered the shape of the market. Sure, some of the premiere players are gone -- but just as importantly, many of the BUYERS seem to be finished. The Sox are done, having signed Lackey and Cameron. The Yankees did not look to be active in this market after acquiring Granderson. The Phillies have already added Polanco and Halladay. The Angels are quiet now, and apparently signed Matsui today to fill their DH void. So who is left? Who is out there still buying?

I see this moment as a great opportunity for the Mets. In fact, it could be a historic opportunity. Bay and Holliday are still unsigned -- and now Bay's original team is out of the running. These two men now have a ton less leverage -- who is still in the market for a big bat right now?

The Yankees are lukewarmly interested. The Cardinals, of course, are strongly pursuing Holliday, but with Albert Pujols' contract expiring soon, they may not be able to afford him. A late-breaking story (hat tip indicates that the Cardinals have upped their offer to EIGHT YEARS for Holliday - but the average annual value is still only in the neighborhood of $16 million a year.

Either way, there exists a stronger possibility than before that the Mets could swoop in and get Holliday or Bay for less than market -- or in the alternative, could clean up on the mid-level free agent market because so many of the other buyers are out early.

With non-tenders included, the Mets could conceivably pick up a half-dozen players who could help now and in the future at reasonable rates. How would you feel if the Mets were able to do something like this?

P Ben Sheets or Erik Bedard, 2nd starter ... could come discounted with injury risk
P Jason Marquis, 4th starter ... many speculate he could be had around 2y/$16M
P Matt Capps, set-up man ... due a pay cut
P Joe Beimel, LOOGY ... earned only $2M last year
OF Marlon Byrd or Ryan Church, to battle Pagan/Francoeur to start ...earned only $3M last year
1B Ryan Garko, 1B platoon partner ... hasn't been to arbitration yet

Granted, this plan takes a chance on Sheets/Bedard and Capps, but in a buyer's market, those might be risks worth taking - particularly if the Mets don't have much of a chance to compete in 2010 without some luck. The grand total of all those signings, factoring in some raises, would be in the neighborhood of $29 million for 2010 (9+8+3+3+3+3).

I'm not saying it's a plan I've committed to, but it would:

1) Provide some organizational depth
2) Allow us to keep our minor league system intact, and allow F-Mart and Thole to begin the season in Triple-A
3) Give us a chance to be competitive in 2010, and
4) Let us see how things shake out and who may or may not contribute to the 2011 team (i.e. will Reyes be healthy, will Beltran be healthy, will Santana be healthy, will Wright hit for power...)

And now there is an opportunity to carry it out.


The Mets lineup and rotation with the above acquisitions would look like this:

SS Reyes
LF Pagan
CF Beltran
3B Wright
1B Murphy/Garko
RF Francoeur/Byrd
C Blanco/Thole
2B Castillo

p.s. did anyone realize that Francoeur hit .344/.356/.521 for an 878 OPS against lefties last year? And has an 827 OPS against them for his career? Marlon Byrd hit .300/.344/.491 for an 835 OPS against righties while Ryan Church has hit .280/.353/.460 for an 813 OPS against righties in his career... just saying.

P Santana
P Sheets
P Pelfrey
P Marquis
P Perez

(Niese, Figueroa in AAA, Mejia in AA)

P Rodriguez
P Capps
P Maine
P Feliciano
P Beimel
P Green
P Stokes/Parnell

p.s. Capps and Green will face righties, with almost identical splits. Capps has a career 777 OPS vs. lefties, 669 vs. righties; Green has a career 788 OPS vs lefties, 669 vs. righties.

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