Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Pedro December 9, 2009 at 5:42 pm
    Here’s a plan if you’re interested. We’d all like to think the Mets can be like the Yankees but this isn’t happening anytime soon. So here’s a plan from a fans prospective.

    1) Big fish; Sign Matt Holliday. Holliday is the best option for offense and the most productive OFer in baseball for the past four years.

    2) Catcher; Sign Benjie Molina. I like Molina for two years. Along with Blanco that’s 20-25 HR, 80-85 RBI’s and a .260-.270 BA with great defense at catcher. Outside of Joe Mauer, V-Mart and Brain McCann you can’t do much better.

    3) Starting rotation; Bring in Jon Garland (200 inn) and Ben Sheets. John Lackey’s elbow concerns me so I’d rather stay clear. With all the SP’s on the market after the 2010 season I’d be more conservative. Garland will cost around 6.5mm-7 mm per year (13m-14m for 2 yrs) while Sheets will need to take a base plus incentives (5m + 5m incentives). The last time Sheets came back from an injury he was stellar for 1.5 seasons…until the next injury. One year is all the Mets need from Sheets. Johan Santana is Johan Santana. The Mets are stuck with Oliver Perez. Which leaves Mike Pelfrey and John Maine. Why not! Trade Maine for Cory Hart. I’ll get back to that in a minute. So, Santana, Garland, Sheets, Perez and Pelfrey form the rotation. That isn’t bad.

    4) Bullpen; Bring in Kiko Calero and a LOOGY.
    K-Rod, Parnell, Feliciano and Redding make up the core of the bullpen. Kiko Calero is a great fit for the 8th inning set up guy. After his starting stint failed I believe Parnell will become an outstanding late inning reliever. In his last 6 relief outings of 2009 he looked like a different pitcher. A LOOGY is needed so signing Darren Oliver, Joe Beimel or Ron Mahay will fill the need. Sean Green and Brian Stokes can fight it out for the last spot.

    5) Infield; Back to a John Maine for Cory Hart trade…”But why would the Mets need Hart if they sign Matt Holliday?” you ask. Answer; Cory Hart becomes the RH’d part of the 1st base platoon with Daniel Murphy. Hart came up as a 1B-man but moved because of Prince Fielder. Hart played 179 minor league games and handled almost 1600 chance. Hart and Murphy can handle 1st base. Hart can also get AB’s in the outfield.

    Luis Castillo (2nd base) isn’t going anywhere. If he hits and plays like he did AFTER “the drop” at Yankee Stadium he’ll be fine.

    Jose Reyes (ss) and David Wright (3rd base) should both bounce back in 2010. So the infield would be complete. Alex Cora is the backup middle infielder. If Fernando Tatis isn’t brought back Chad Tracy would be a great back-up corner infield.

    6) Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur would be the regular outfield with Angel Pagan as a backup. Hart can also play all three OF spots when not at 1st base.

    I would like to see Daniel Murphy get some playing time at 2nd base during the spring. He’s a good athlete with decent range and a good infield arm.

    With pay raises and arbitration compromises the payroll should stay at roughly 147mm.
    This is a pretty deep team and versatile team.

  2. isuzudude December 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm
    Ah, yes, another sparring partner!

    Pedro, a few things I’d like to bring to your attention, if I may:
    1. You start out by saying the Mets aren’t going to be like the Yankees, and by that I take it you mean the Mets aren’t going to spend like the Yankees. And I’m fully in agreement with you there. However, right after that you say the Mets should sign Matt Holliday, who will undoubtedly take home the largest contract of the offseason, and outbid themselves by giving more than a 1-yr deal to Bengie Molina. While that may not be like spending like the Yankees, those are certainly some big bucks you’re throwing around to some guys who only look so desirable because of the alternatives they’re competing against this offseason. That doesn’t necesarily mean they’re worth the money they’re demanding.
    2. As a continuation off of #1, you don’t say how much you would give or how high you’d be willing to go with either Holliday or Molina. What if Holliday asks for a Mark Teixeira contract (8 years at $18M per year)? Do you think giving a 30 year old that type of deal is responsible? Likewise, why give Molina any more than 1-yr if no other team is going beyond that? Wouldn’t that be a tad excessive, espeicially for a low OBP catcher above 35 years old?
    3. Expanding on Molina, you mention that Mauer and VMart are some of the select few catchers who are more productive than Molina, a reason why signing Molina is a priority to you. However, did you know both Mauer and VMart will hit the open market next year? That means giving Molina a contract that stretches beyond 2010 puts the Mets out of the running for either Mauer or VMart. Care to change your stance?
    4. I have no problem signing either Garland or Sheets, as long as they come at the price you describe. However, I’m more inclined to believe Garland is going to command $8M+ per year, while it’s rumored Sheets is looking for $12M per. So your discount shopping may have to be done somewhere else.
    5. Since when does Redding make up a part of the core of the bullpen? He’ll be non-tendered by New Year’s, I guarentee it. I’d much rather plug Fernando Nieve into that slot.
    6. Kiko Calero seems like a nice addition, but I fret the pricetag and a let down season. I’d also hate to see the Mets waste another $2-3M per season on Oliver, Mahay, or Beimel when Adam Bostick deserves a chance to be the 2nd LOOGY.
    7. If we are to accept your vision for the 2010 Mets, Corey Hart would be relegated to platoon duty at 1B starting pretty much exclusively vs LHP, as Murphy would start vs RHP. With the Mets being as desperate for pitching as they are, why give up a potential #3 starter for a bench player? I know Maine is extremely fragile, but even I wouldn’t trade him for a guy I’m only going to be starting 25% of the time. I’m for a Maine-for-Hart deal, but only if Hart is the starting LF, not as any type of platoon player.

    You have a very interesting team that looks competitive on paper, but I question whether the Mets are going to spend as much money on free agents as you are suggesting. I really think this offseason is going to be spent bargain hunting, as evidenced by the Mets holding firm on their 1-yr offer to Molina, just a 2-yr offer to Wolf, and being pretty quiet on the fronts of Holliday, Bay, Lackey, and DeRosa. The easy answers are the ones that just aren’t going to be attainable this winter.

  3. Pedro December 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm
    Isuzudude; Thanks for the reply. I understand the concern for dollars amounts but I figured I wouldn’t bore anyone unless asked so here goes.
    Holliday; Looking at the Teixeira deal and the Beltran deal as a basis, Holliday will land somewhere in between. 5-6 years at 100m-105m is my guess. The deal can be back loaded with the first 3 years tiered such as 14m,15m,16m with the last years at 20m. Does it seem irresponsible? Perhaps but this is how business is done in MLB. Molina will get two years at 6m per as Heyman has reported. Brian Schnieder, Pudge and Zahn (option) all have two year deal. Molina is far better then all. If you can get Molina for one year and a club option, do it. Molina teaching Josh Thole in 2011 I believe is a really good thing. Like the Yankees? Not really. They have 3 guys over 20m per and one at 30m. The Mets will always spend less. What they need to do is spend wisely. Neither you nor I would have signed Castillo for 4 years or signed Oliver Perez to a 3/36m deal. Holliday and Molina are both wise deals. I believe that Mauer and V-Mart will both resigning with MIN and BOS respectively. Is this a gamble? Yes. A heavy gamble? No. The Yankees will outbid anyone for Mauer if he hits the open market. That said I think MIN will move Michael Cuddyer or Joe Nathan at the deadline or in the off-season of 2010 so they can keep Mauer.
    As for Sheets and Garland… The hard throwers like Penny and Harden got over paid because they throw hard. Wolf is LH and got more years then he should. I think Garland will get max 2 years
    14m. I may be wrong. Soft tosser never seem to get as much as hard throwers. That leave Ben Sheets. Wanting 12m and getting 12m are two different things. It was written that Sheets want to “earn” 12m next season. I had him at 5m +5 incentive. So go 6m +6 incentive. If he doesn’t take it, that’s how it goes. Redding is part of “my” core in the pen. I didn’t say the Mets saw it that way. Redding was solid in the second half after getting healthy. He’s a long man/spot starter. I like him and he fits. Nieve is nice but I’m not sold on him yet. I would agree that Bostick has earned the opportunity but I’d rather go with a proven commodity.
    The Hart-Maine proposal would hinge solely on Garland and Sheets. If one does not sign on then that deal is dead. This is how I arrived at the 147mm figure, give or take.

    The point of what i wrote is, this is what I would try to do as GM to contend now. With the Phillies looking like favorites for the next 2-3 years, easy, the Braves as deep in the rotation as they are and the Marlins only getting older and better the Mets need to decide if they are all in to contend or if they need to rebuild. If they’re not going to go for it then trade the stars and rebuild. I think they will reload instead of rebuild. Here’s hoping.