Looking back on the opening day roster I wrote down in 2011 and guessing forward what it would look like in 2013 I assumed [wrongly] that we would contend throughout this period and maintain a payroll in the same range as we were used to at the time, roughly $120M+. When the wheels came off by the summer of 2011 the purge began and it continued through the Dickey trade...the turning point in SA's plan going forward. Wonder what the roster would look like today if we held on to the 2011 25 man roster plus a few kids coming up from the farm?
Our lineup would have been, all things being equal: Reyes, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, Davis, Bay [splitting with or being replaced by Duda], Buck [I figure he was the most viable FA two years ago coming off a good year in TOR so we would have signed him to a two year $10M contract instead of Miami overpaying him that year...if not perhaps Olivo for $3M per], and Tejada. The bench would have Murphy, Nieuwenhuis, Thole, Turner and Hairston [if he never had the 20 57 year last year because he never got that much playing time he would likely have been re-signed for depth at maybe $3M per instead of the $5M+ he is now negotiating for]. A pretty solid lineup with an $82M price tag. The staff would be Santana, Dickey, Niese, Harvey, Gee plus one of the retreads [CYoung or Capuano] assuming we didn't retain Pelfrey. The pen FRod, Parnell, Byrdak, Mike Gonzalez [if we were a contender we would have added a solid lefty in the $2-3M per range], plus two or three arms from the kiddie corps---Edgin, Carson, Mejia, Familia. The pitching staff would cost us $51M. Altogether a payroll of $133M for a team that could win 80-92 games depending on health and performance.
Instead we traded/dumped/let walk ten players---Reyes, Pagan, Beltran, Bay, Thole, Nickeas, JMarte, Dickey, Pelfrey, and FRod---and 'replaced' them with these ten guys: in the lineup we added Nieuwenhuis, Murphy, Cowgill, Buck and Baxter [with D'Arnaud and Becerra on the farm] and on the mound with Wheeler, Syndergaard, and Francisco. We dropped $17M/10/13/Bay we're still paying/.5/.2/5/6/8.5 for KRod based on his 2012 salary = saving $60M net and promoted a few kids, backfilled with fringe guys/rookies and now have TDA, Wheeler, Syndergaard and Becerra on the way. So that explains how our current payroll is about $73M and we have a few gaping holes to fill if we want to be respectable this year. In the interim SA is saving his bosses $50M a year for a team they could no longer afford and never seemed to be able to put it all together.
Will the end result over the long term of adding three potential stars at the expense of Reyes, Pagan, Beltran and Dickey benefit the team in the long run? Hard to say at this early point until the kids prove themselves but it seems rebuilding was the right thing to do...wish we traded Reyes for a blue chipper when we had the chance. But for now the Wilpons sure are saving money.
If Beltran would have gotten one more single at the right time, Omar would have been a great GM.
What's the purpose of "What Ifs"????
To figure out what the right strategy should be the next time a situation arises. While Beltran watching strike three against Wainwright was hard to take I thought relying on a thin bullpen, the cheapest thing to fix, was the big mistake of 2007 and 2008. After Sanchez was hurt and DOliver and Bradford left for free agency Omar didn't try to replace them with solid veteran relievers and instead relied on lousy replacements...and we missed the playoffs by one game two years in a row. Lesson learned is if the back end of your pen stinks [like in 2012] you must improve them and not hope that an aging Isringhausen, Igarashi, Carrasco, Bucholz, etc. can fill the hole. Will Edgin, Carson, Mejia and Familia mature together this year and make it a strength? Will Francisco pitch to an ERA of 3.00 or 5.30 again? Will Byrdak pitch again this year? Please no Hefners, Schwindens, Stinsons, Acostas and other AAAA pitchers this year....they went 5-17 6.50 last year....turning an 81 win season and respectability into a 74 win disaster.