2007 New York Mets

Let’s see what’s in store for the Mets next year.  Their playoff appearance this year should ensure that ownership spends some more money to plug any holes.

By the way, you can read any of my 2007 Team Outlooks here. 

Omar Minaya’s contractual obligations:

C – Paul LoDuca – $6.5MM
C – Ramon Castro – $0.8MM
1B – Carlos Delgado – $14.5MM
2B –
SS – Jose Reyes – $2.5MM
3B – David Wright – $1MM
IF – Julio Franco – $1.1MM
IF – Ruben Gotay – $0.3405MM, Anderson Hernandez – $0.327MM
LF – Lastings Milledge – $0.415MM
CF – Carlos Beltran – $12MM
RF – Shawn Green – $3.7MM
OF – Endy Chavez – $0.5MM

SP – Pedro Martinez – $14MM
SP – Tom Glavine – $7.5MM player option; $14MM club option. Both have $3MM buyout
SP – Oliver Perez – $1.9MM
SP – Brian Bannister – $0.327MM
SP – Philip Humber – $0.84MM
SP – Mike Pelfrey – $1.3125MM
SP – John Maine – $0.33MM
SP – Victor Zambrano – $3MM
SP – Dave Williams – $1.4MM
RP – Alay Soler – $0.93MM

RP – Billy Wagner – $10.5MM
RP – Duaner Sanchez – $0.3995MM
RP – Aaron Heilman – $0.359MM
RP – Heath Bell – $0.33MM
RP – Henry Owens – $0.33MM
RP – Pedro Feliciano – $0.33MM
RP – Royce Ring – $0.33MM
RP – Matt Lindstrom – $0.33MM

The Mets come in at about $81MM with this group, excluding Glavine.  If Glavine were to stay maybe the sides would meet in the middle at $11MM.  While it’s true that not every player listed above will receive a Major League salary, some guys will get raises.  Let’s say they’re at $95MM with Glavine, and $84MM without.  The Mets entered the season with a $101MM payroll.

One hole the Mets should fill is second base.  There are your usual mid-range free agents, and then there’s Alfonso Soriano.  Soriano could be used in left field if the Mets trade Milledge or decide he’s not ready.  Recent word is that Sori will be priced out of the Mets’ range.  I think that’s silly given the playoff revenue and payroll room.  Sure, the Mets don’t need him.  But why not build a National League juggernaut?  His offense could become vital if, say, a 35 year-old Delgado gets hurt or declines.  There’s also Julio Lugo, who would be happy to play second as a Met.

As I said, the Mets can go with Milledge in left.  Or right, if you think flip-flopping him with Green improves the defense.  With a win now team like the Mets, Milledge probably isn’t who you want starting in the outfield.  The Yankees would not enter 2007 with Melky Cabrera in left, especially if Cabrera had just 162 big league ABs.  Minaya can just leave him in Triple A, wait until he hits so well that there’s no choice but to play him.  In the meantime there are fine options like Moises Alou and David Dellucci on the market.  Either player would make sense on a two-year deal.

The position players are otherwise set in stone, and the outlook is good.

The pitching situation is also very promising. The Mets are literally ten-deep in the rotation.  And it’s not all mid-range guys, as Perez, Humber, and Pelfrey have a lot of upside.  It’ll be hard to do if he becomes a playoff hero, but the Mets should probably let Glavine go to the Braves.  Maybe that’s what Glavine will prefer anyway.  The Mets just have tons of far cheaper, comparable starting options.  Maybe the recent "we don’t need Zito" thing is a smokescreen, but the Mets really don’t need Zito.   

The bullpen looks equally deep.  It’s anchored by Wagner and Sanchez.  Beyond that plenty of cheap, young players are showing promise.  I wouldn’t tinker with the pen.

If I’m Omar, I would sign Soriano to play second.  Yes, it’s a deal that won’t end well.  It’s the price you pay to get the available star without giving up young talent.  I’d also pick up Alou for left field and find a respectful way to have Glavine move on.  Then I’d let the chips fall for April and May and see if I need anything.  If Pedro isn’t holding up, or several of the younger starters falter, I’d try to trade for Jason Jennings or Jake Westbrook.   

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