$110M Payroll = Pennant Contender
If I understand correctly David Wright is only being paid $8M this year [with a chunk deferred to create payroll flexibility] and if Dickey follows the same path and re-signs for the $5M he is due now and gets his $25M extra split in years 2 and 3 the Mets could go for it now with a $110M payroll and contend immediately. Here's how:
1) Sign Michael Bourn [5 45 .275 40 SBs] for an average of the $15M he seeks with a maybe a lower first year salary.
2) Sign Nick Swisher [25 90 .275 average year] for $9M for 2013 and a bit higher in year two. Staying in NY may be enough of an incentive. If he cannot be gotten for that price stick with re-signing Hairston or Ross for RF.
3) Go for it and sign Delmon Young [15 85 .284 average] for LF for $12M per/3 years plus options...if higher back end the deal slightly...he may not be great defensively but the 27 year old can sure hit. Drove in 93 and 112 runs for MIN.
4) Sign Olivo [avg. in 400 ABs is 14 50 .240] for $3M
5) Sign two retread pitchers for the pen/swing starter for $1.5M incentive laden contracts...if they excel the Wilpons can afford to pay more and if the Mets don't contend then trade them off in July...some teams play this game well.
Here's the roster [salary in brackets---correct me if I'm off a bit]:
Bourn 15, Tejada 1.5, Wright 8, Davis 2.5, Young 12, Swisher 9, Murphy 2, Olivo 3 plus Duda .5, Thole 1, Hicks .5, Turner 1, Niewenhuis .5 = $56.5 M plus Bay payment of ?????
Staff: Santana 24, Dickey 5, Harvey .5, Niese 2, Gee 2 = $33.5M
Pen: Francisco 6, Parnell 2, Edgin .5, Carson .5, Mejia .5, Familia .5 plus two vet retreads 3 = $13M
$56.5 + $33.5 + $13 = $103M plus Bay payout [$7M?] = $110M. The lineup would be strong and balanced and young enough to stay as a core for years where Olivo is the only guy on the hitting side older than 32 [Swisher]. We know how old Johan and RA are but we also have the Kiddie Corps rising into place. If the bullpen kids can come through in reasonable fashion [and spare bullpen arms are the cheapest thing to get through March] this team is an instant contender if folks have average healthy years. Next year Santana's $24M comes off so raises and slight backloads are affordable. Washington did just about the same thing---jumping from last place to contender status as their young pitching arrived...can't we expect the same? Isn't the battle plan laid out by SA the reason Wright stayed???
Insightful comments welcomed.