The Mets have only six players signed for next year: Santana [$24M], Bay [$18M], Wright [$15.3M], Dickey [$4.75M], Carrasco [$1.2M] and Byrdak [$1M] = $64M. They have five arbitration eligibles in Pelfrey, Pagan, Parnell and Paulino [I figure Bucholz is gone] that should end up with a total of about $14M. Add in the 12 rookies and second year guys [Niese, Davis, Murphy, Thole, Beato, Duda, Acosta, Evans, Gee, Tejada, Turner, Pridie---if they keep him-- who should average around $500K and a few AAAA players like Nickeas, O'Connor, Alvarez on split contracts] each for another $7M. They may choose to spend $6M on Capuano or someone similar for depth and throw $1M for Harris [I figure Hairston can be replaced by Turner and Evans] which equals $7M. Except for their SS and maybe a new closer that's essentially the entire roster and it adds up to a total of $92M.
I figure they could re-sign Jose for a deal that looks something like this: $15M in 2012, $15M in 2013, $20M in 2014, $20M in 2015, $5M buyout for 2016 or a club option for another $17M. Lower salary in the first two years while the Bay and Santana contracts run out...an average of $17M overall...which is about the max anyone should pay for his skills and injury history. The only gaping hole is closer and they should be able to get someone like a Joe Nathan or a Matt Capps on the FA market at a discount with an incentive laden contract based on games finished for less than $5M. So, if we keep the ending 2011 roster essentially intact and simply replace KRod's spot the payroll is around $112M...close to the target we have all heard. SA will have to decide whether Pelfrey and Capuano are both worth $6M, as discussed in my other recent post, but $12M is enough to get one very good FA starter [like an Oswalt or better yet E. Jackson] or keep what they have and hope for better results. In any case, if if if Santana resembles his old self, and Wright and Bay rediscover their home run strokes in a revamped Citi Field, if Davis and Murphy pick up where they left off, and Niese, Duda and Gee and Tejada continue to improve---alot of IFS---they could win 90 games. Or, they have more injuries/slumping players and they struggle to win 82. Which is exactly where we were when 2011 began---alot of IFS if we were to contend. I'm hoping SA can do a few really good moves and give us hope for a contending season in 2012.