Offseason Outlook: New York Mets

The Mets' attempt to re-sign Jose Reyes will dominate their offseason and determine how much they can spend on other areas of need, like the bullpen.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Free Agents

As expected, 2011 was a year of transition for the Mets.  New GM Sandy Alderson did fine work in escaping Francisco Rodriguez's vesting option and maximizing the return on Carlos Beltran.  Alderson's most debatable decision, though, was not trading Jose Reyes at the July deadline.  Reyes' status is now likely to shape the Mets' offseason.

Reyes missed about six weeks of the season, enduring two separate DL stints due to a hamstring injury.  The Mets must determine whether they see Reyes as a player who can be depended upon for only 130 games a year moving forward, or one capable of returning to the 150-games-played plateau.  Reyes' season was phenomenal even with the time missed, and his strong finish bodes well for him in free agency.  Still, all five to seven year, $100MM+ contracts are very risky.  So far, Alderson's biggest risk as Mets GM was keeping Reyes.  If that July decision doesn't result in an offseason discount, the Mets will have to settle for a couple of draft picks.

Wright had a disappointing season as he missed more than two months with a back injury.  Trading him now would result in a disappointing return.  Wright can void his 2013 club option if traded, meaning Alderson only would be offering one season of the third baseman.  The Beltran formula might be applied here: Alderson could hope Wright rebuilds his value in the first few months of 2012 and becomes the best bat on the trade market.  Players like Pelfrey and Pagan could also become useful trade chips.  I'd tender contracts to both despite their disappointing 2011 seasons.

If the Mets don't re-sign Reyes, another consolidation season might be in order.  Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, and Josh Thole had promising seasons, and the rotation has useful pieces.  Still, the team is facing question marks all around the diamond and in the rotation.  I think they can contend if Reyes returns and Wright, Santana, and Bay also contribute star-caliber seasons, but that's unlikely and reason to find Alderson's decision to keep Reyes confusing.  In Alderson's defense, Reyes spent half of July on the disabled list, perhaps cutting down his trade value to the point that two draft picks wasn't much worse.

A $110MM payroll would give the Mets plenty of flexibility, and the bullpen will be one focus.  I expect Alderson to make improvements, yet still exercise caution and avoid a big commitment to any one reliever.  The rotation is a similar issue, with Alderson needing to make a few more Capuano-type signings.  Hopefully if Reyes leaves there won't be an expectation to spend the entire surplus just for the sake of spending.  The team just has too many questions to make 2012 contention likely.

Plenty of questions remain in Irving Picard's lawsuit against Mets owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon, but the tide seems to be turning in the owners' favor with a judge capping their potential loss at $386MM.  Should Picard fail to prove the Mets owners were willfully blind to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, they might have to pay out less than $100MM.

Perhaps by 2013 the Mets can have the Picard lawsuit settled and the decks mostly cleared of bad contracts.  Alderson can make determinations on the futures of Reyes and Wright, while his other big-money players, Santana and Bay, will be entering their walk years barring vesting options.  The Mets will have more clarity on players such as Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Duda, and Murphy, while Jenrry Mejia should be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.  If Alderson continues laying a proper foundation, the Mets should be competitive by '13. 


Leave a Reply

92 Comments on "Offseason Outlook: New York Mets"


Lastings
3 years 10 months ago

The Mets offseason began back in April and lasted until September. It’s November-March when they are most active, and they aren’t even that active during that time.

diesel2410
3 years 10 months ago

Offseason outlook: New York Mets: 

a) Get a winning record
b) Don’t come in last
c) If within reach for a playoff spot (big if), then don’t choke
d) ūüėÄ

rwdavis22461
3 years 10 months ago

Coming in last place or 2nd plalce does not matter if your not in the hunt at all. They do not give rewards to Almost as the Red Sox.. So we need to build regardless if Jose is or is not here.  The question is if we sign Reyes what then will happen to Wright. both should be part of the future at 28 and adding younger players like Ike and Tejada and Niece to the mix is a good starting point but you still need more.  But more then a player or two Mets need luck in the health aspect . If they keep players on the field then they will be tougher 

diesel2410
3 years 10 months ago

Offseason outlook: New York Mets: 

a) Get a winning record
b) Don’t come in last
c) If within reach for a playoff spot (big if), then don’t choke
d) ūüėÄ

3 years 10 months ago

And I thought Bob Hope was dead!

Rick Garcia
3 years 10 months ago

I hope they re-sign Reyes but I’m not sure if another large contract is what the Mets need

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

trade pelfrey and wright in june when hopefully they rebuilt their value
non tender paulino and pagan
let reyes walk

chicothekid
3 years 10 months ago

There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever to non tender Paulino.¬† He’s making peanuts and is a serviceable backup and with another year and a little more playing time, could become a type B FA.¬† If they gave him a few more starts, they could play their way into an extra draft pick and hopefully, light a fire under Thole.

Paulino will be in a Mets uniform next year unless he gets traded in the off season, but that contract will get offered, and you can take that one to the bank. 

Why don’t you and doc go back and come up with some more creative trade proposals for Lincecum or Verlander now?

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

mike nickeas can take ronny paulinos place both are right handed back up catchers
nickeas is cheaper and younger
 

3 years 10 months ago

Mike Nickeas might have been the most frustrating player to watch on the Mets last year. 

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

no that would be ryota igarashi

MetsFanXXIII
3 years 10 months ago

Carrasco was worse.

3 years 10 months ago

eh, I expected him to suck … same with pelfrey

most frustrating for me was Parnell, he just could not lock down the closer role

3 years 10 months ago

Are you joking? Mike Nickeas?? Are you talking about the guy that is a career .237 hitting in 8 minor league seasons and hasn’t done anything in the majors as well?

Sorry, I’d rather have Paulino.

icedrake523
3 years 10 months ago

Nickeas? He’s 28 and bounced back and forth between AAA and AA the last 4 years. There’s no reason why he should take Paulino’s spot.

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

if not nickeas than any other minimum catcher
just saying that paulino is an average backstop and he is one place that the mets could cut back on their payroll
no disrespect to paulino he seem like a good dude

icedrake523
3 years 10 months ago

Paulino’s contract is less than $2M. Getting rid of it will barely make an impact. Considering how Thole regressed, they’re better off keeping Paulino. There’s no way Nickeas could be a backup catcher or split time 50/50 with Thole. He may be cheaper than Paulino, but you get what you pay for.

LongTimeFan1
3 years 10 months ago

I disagree. I’d rather have Nickeas over Paulino, hands down. Nickeas is an excellent, well-prepared backstop, a calming presence, and with proper instruction at the dish and better game plan, there’s no reason he couldn’t contribute with the bat and be a Jerry Grote type.

It seems to me he’s spent so much time on being good defensive catcher, that his hitting development has taken back seat. He has good hitting mechanics and shows pockets of good plate discipline. The tools are there, he just needs to better apply them.

LongTimeFan1
3 years 10 months ago

I disagree. I’d rather have Nickeas over Paulino, hands down. Nickeas is an excellent, well-prepared backstop, a calming presence, and with proper instruction at the dish and better game plan, there’s no reason he couldn’t contribute with the bat and be a Jerry Grote type.

It seems to me he’s spent so much time on being good defensive catcher, that his hitting development has taken back seat. He has good hitting mechanics and shows pockets of good plate discipline. The tools are there, he just needs to better apply them.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

You’d save $1 million.¬† Are the Mets there?

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

that million could go to the bullpen

mattmosher
3 years 10 months ago

The Mets won’t be competitive until 2014 at the absolute earliest. There’s no way in hell Reyes stays, because they wont top the highest offer. Nor should they.

guydavis
3 years 10 months ago

2013 is by no means written off. 2012 is a push for sure.

East Coast Bias
3 years 10 months ago

That’s great news about the lawsuit.

East Coast Bias
3 years 10 months ago

That’s great news about the lawsuit.

Infield Fly
3 years 10 months ago

Not if it means the Wilpons are going to remain the owners it isn’t. :(

Baseballfan83
3 years 10 months ago

They where never going anywhere lawsuit or not. 

Infield Fly
3 years 10 months ago

At the time the lawsuit was first filed nobody could have realistically predicted what would happen – as shown by the many competing theories and alternate scenarios that were thrown around at the time. It seemed just as possible that the Wilpons might win their case as Picard & Co. might win theirs, and certainly if things had gone a different way and the lawsuit had cleaned the Wilpons out, they would have been forced to sell. There were never any guarantees of anything.

This is one of those 20/20 hindsight deals.

Baseballfan83
3 years 10 months ago

I never saw any reason to¬†believe¬†the Wilpons would lose and most¬†legal¬†analysts¬†said the same. It’s not 20/20 hindsight if it’s what you said all along. There was never any point when there ownership was questioned or at risk. Investors in a Ponzi do not repay the full loss and there is no¬†proof¬†Wilpon was anything more than an investor.¬†

Infield Fly
3 years 10 months ago

Not if it means the Wilpons are going to remain the owners it isn’t. :(

3 years 10 months ago

It’s unfortunate, but with the exception of Reyes, this offseason will largely resemble last offseason; looking for cheap, slightly above replacement level players as stop gaps until contract and ownership situations resolve themselves, and some of the farm hands are ready to contribute.

The bullpen needs significant work. Buchholz and Carrasco were good signings at the time that didn’t pan out, Parnell struggled, and Igarashi was flat out terrible. Izzy, Acosta and Byrdak were all pretty good, and Herrara was a nice surprise, but not much to hang your hat on heading into 2012.

As for Reyes, I will be very disappointed if they don’t re-sign him. Durability issues aside (though he has shown he can play a full season, 2005-2008) there is no way the Mets will be able to even sniff his production on shortstop if he walks.

3 years 10 months ago

It’s unfortunate, but with the exception of Reyes, this offseason will largely resemble last offseason; looking for cheap, slightly above replacement level players as stop gaps until contract and ownership situations resolve themselves, and some of the farm hands are ready to contribute.

The bullpen needs significant work. Buchholz and Carrasco were good signings at the time that didn’t pan out, Parnell struggled, and Igarashi was flat out terrible. Izzy, Acosta and Byrdak were all pretty good, and Herrara was a nice surprise, but not much to hang your hat on heading into 2012.

As for Reyes, I will be very disappointed if they don’t re-sign him. Durability issues aside (though he has shown he can play a full season, 2005-2008) there is no way the Mets will be able to even sniff his production on shortstop if he walks.

Infield Fly
3 years 10 months ago

I hope they non-tender (or trade) Mike Pelfrey. He’s nothing but a a cheap warm body and a bunch of guaranteed losses – something no GM should be shooting for. It definitely wouldn’t kill me if they found a way to get rid of Parnell either. Talk about 2 guys who just don’t learn!

Lunchbox45
3 years 10 months ago

For how good Santana used to be, who would have though that contract would become a huge issue.

East Coast Bias
3 years 10 months ago

It isn’t, yet. If Santana comes back and is close to his old self, he will earn his $. The fault lies in ownership/leadership not surrounding him with sufficient talent during his prime.

Not4
3 years 10 months ago

I think you have that backwards.¬† Regardless of how good Santana was (and hopefully will be again), who didn’t have at least some concerns about giving a pitcher with a history of arm and knee problems a 7 year mega deal?¬† I was equally glad and concerned at the time it was given (just being a jaded Met fan who figured he blows out his knee in his first spring training and never comes back).¬† Even now, I don’t see his contract as an albatross yet as East Coast noted.¬† Hopefully he comes back as good as ever – maybe with a little less “stuff”, but with all the competitiveness and pitching smarts that made him great in the first place.

So, in fairness, “who would have thought” isn’t quite the right way to look at it.

Lunchbox45
3 years 10 months ago

For how good Santana used to be, who would have though that contract would become a huge issue.

NyMetsBoy31
3 years 10 months ago

Thole had anything but a promising season, both at the plate and behind it.

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

couldn’t agree more

Loody
3 years 10 months ago

Outside of their attempt to resign Reyes, I do expect it to be a relatively quiet offseason. However, unlike last offseason, I do think that there is the potential for the Mets to look into making some potential trades that could help them for 2012 and possibly beyond. I don’t think the Jason Bay contract is as untradeable as others (obviously I could be wrong). But there seem to be similar bad contracts out there that perhaps the Mets could look to swap. I have been harping on it for a while, but I have always thought that the Mets and White Sox could get together on a Jason Bay for Jake Peavy swap. With his connections to the front office (Alderson and DePodesta were in San Diego) and a return to the NL, I always thought Peavy would thrive. I also always thought he could potentially be turned into a devastating closer (he has a reputation for being able to warm up quickly and has been open to the idea). Bay would be going back to the AL where he had his best years. This is not only a case of contract for contract, but also a case of two players who probably need a change of scenery.

It would be creative trades like these that I think the Mets might be able to pull off in the offseason. Of course there is risk involved for both teams. 

juliusvernon
3 years 10 months ago

Bay’s best years weren’t really in Boston.¬† He had a couple of great years with the Pirates.¬† This isn’t a league issue with Bay, it’s a “he’s done” issue.

3 years 10 months ago

The Orioles need a bit more of this themselves: The rotation is a similar issue, with Alderson needing to make a few more Capuano-type signings.

Heck, I want Capuano as well!

greggofboken
3 years 10 months ago

I would take the reverse of the stance advocated here, and take the risk of non-tendering Pelfrey, and keeping Pagan.¬† The risk of Pelfrey not rebounding and having no trade value is too great.¬† (He’s been this poor before.)¬† Pagan performed below expectations and could have value however.

Paulino has fallen in disfavor b/c of a failure to follow game plans.¬† Still, the point is well-made that he’s imminently affordable.¬† Catching being in short supply as it is around the majors, re-up him and try to move him.

Everything this off-season revolves around Reyes, including the future of Wright.¬† Reyes becomes as nearly as much a stress test of how big a hit the ticket revenues can take as his on-field value.¬† If Reyes isn’t re-upped, Wright goes nowhere unless the club is completely in the tank at the break.¬† If he is, Wright becomes a trade candidate.¬† While Alderson may prefer to avoid the risk of a reasonable (5 yr/$90M) deal for Reyes (perhaps more w/incentives), he does not operate in a vacuum.¬† He will have to weigh the declining ticket revenue and the difficult financial straits into this equation.¬†

PRKnight
3 years 10 months ago

There are alot of things the mets have to decide on this winter, and as a guy who has a lot of family who are met fans they are just fed up with the disappointments but things got to happen before this mess can be turned around.  Some suggestions i have are 
1. Let reyes walk. As much as i love him as a player the contract stuff just won’t add up to the future plans. Just get the picks and hope they turn out descent¬†2. Keep the non tender candidates. I like pegan but knowing how some met fans want him gone, keep him till his value is better than trade him. ¬†I don’t think pridie is the answer at all.3. Get Pelfrey out of NY. He is just terrible! I would keep him for the year to eat up some innings but once the chance comes get him out.4. Build up trade value for Wright. ¬†I used to think that reyes and wright could some day do something positive but it hasn’t happen and its just time to cut ties. ¬†I would of kept one of either Wright or Reyes but more and more i watch this team i can handle both gone. ¬†I would want the losing ways free from the locker room. PLus i just don’t feel he’s a leader at all. A lot of ya might disagree but i just don’t see it in him. ¬†5. Endure all the scrutinizing from the media for the losing. ¬†Its going to take time for sure but mets fans r just going to have to realize this is a working progress and Alderson is doing well.

Blue387
3 years 10 months ago

Why has no one mentioned Ruben Tejada? I want the team to keep Reyes because Ruben Tejada would be the shortstop if he leaves and Tejada is not a good hitter. He has a sub-700 OPS in 96 games in 2011 with no home runs. He is good defensively but I don’t see Tejada suddenly developing more power, especially at 22 years old playing at Citi Field. A 22 year old ballplayer is mostly developed at that point and I don’t see Tejada as a good replacement. I don’t see him getting better and I cannot accept replacing all-star Jose Reyes with .696 OPS Ruben Tejada.

It’s like replacing a Mercedes-Benz with a Mini Cooper.

The Mets should also look into improving the bullpen. Just from memory alone: the Mets blew a June game against Milwaukee at home and Jason Isringhausen blew a save against Milwaukee in August. D.J. Carrasco balked in the game-ending run in Atlanta in June. And Bobby Parnell blew a save against Washington in September by loading up the bases and gave up a bloop single to right. The Mets need better relievers.

Mike Pelfrey also needs to be cut.

mike piazza
3 years 10 months ago

even with reyes we would still be a .500 team at best. id rather see them rebuilt so we could be a real contender a few years from now

Baseballfan83
3 years 10 months ago

Why are so set in the SS needing to have power. There are very few that do and Tejeda looks to be a solid average major league SS. 22 is not fully developed either i don’t know where you got an idea like that.¬†

HobokenMetsFan
3 years 10 months ago

“22 is not fully developed either i don’t know where you got an idea like that.”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I was a bit perplexed by this too, especially since players dont hit their prime until 27/28. Hell, I’m gunna be 28 in december of this year and I’m much bigger/stronger now then i was at 22….

Dave_in_Spain
3 years 10 months ago

The pen was bad in part because of who they were, but in large part because the starting pitching couldn’t go deep. I think the Mets need at least one other SP who can go deep and provide a better WHIP than Pelfrey. I’d trade Pelf and sign a couple of FAs or trade for some mid-range durable pitchers. I wonder what E.Jackson will command on the market this year? Some of the minor league pitching prospects like Harvey, Familia, Mejia, and Wheeler might get some ML work in 2012, but even in 2013 they’ll just be coming up and will have some rough patches to go through. They won’t have much impact until 2014 anyway. Some stability beyond Dickey would be nice.

3 years 10 months ago

The Mets would have been competitive this year if not for all the injuries.¬† Even if ’12 is primarily a rebuilding year there’s no reason we can’t be in the hunt, as long as we’re healthy.

3 years 10 months ago

I think the Mets need to resign Reyes and look to build an infield of Davis, Tejada, Reyes and Wright. I’m hoping that by moving the walls down 8 ft, it’ll have an impact on both Wright’s and Bay’s bat. Duda should be suffient in RF and I think going after a high risk/high reward guy like Siezmore for CF would be good (I’m assuming that Cleveland will let him go).

You certainly can make an attempt to sign a workhorse like Buehrle (assuming he becomes a FA as well) to give you a rotation of Santana, Buehrle, Dickey, Niese and Pelf.

And, of course, there are plenty of CP on the market as well as BP guys to add.

I’m not saying that would win the Division but it may make the Mets a serviceable team for the next couple of year until their Minor Leaguers can develop – they’ve got a lot of talent in the pipeline…

3 years 10 months ago

sufficient?  duda has and will hit like a freaking monster.