Thursday, November 11, 2004

Getting Value For Your Dollar

In light of the recent spate of crazy rumors coming from the GM meetings (which I've summarized over the past few days on Always Amazin'), I'm here to inject a bit of fiscal sanity into the buzz.

Looking at Dugout Dollars, here are the Mets finanical commitments over the next three years:

2004: $64 million
2005: $33 million
2006: $9.5 million

The 2004 figure assumes that Al Leiter leaves with $2 million buyout, doesn't include Kris Benson's contract, and has Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd on the payroll. As you can see, after next year the Mets have virually no guaranteed contracts, giving them remarkable flexibility in who they want to sign. No more Mo Vaughn type albatrosses, thank you very much. Signing Benson will probably bring the 2004 payroll up to $72 million and if Leiter comes back (god forbid) that would push it close to $78 million.

Now here are the names being thrown around this offseason and how much they'll earn over the next three years. If a player hasn't signed or is due arbitration, I've estimated their contracts or salary (in millions, from Dugout Dollars).

Carlos Beltran $16, $16, $17
Sammy Sosa $17, $18, $3.5
Shawn Green $16
Jason Kendall $9.5, $10.5, $12.5
Alfonso Soriano $8, $10, $10
Kris Benson $8, $8, $8
Orlando Cabrera $8, $8, $8
Mike Piazza $15
Cliff Floyd $6.5, $6.5
Jose Reyes $.3, $.5, $2
Victor Diaz $.3, $.5, $2

So what will happen to the Mets payroll with various combinations of trades?

Green/Piazza: -$1 million, wash
Reyes/Soriano + Cabrera: +$15.3, +$17.7, +$16
Floyd for Sosa: +$10.5, +$11.5, +$3.5

As you can see, while the Piazza/Green trade doesn't hurt them financially, the other two trades add significant amounts to the payroll not just this year but the next two years as well. You may say, "Fine, the Mets can afford it right now."

What if I offered this alternative proposal?

Sign Beltran, keep Reyes, let Diaz play: +$16.6, +$17.6, +$21

It's only slightly more money than the Soriano/Cabrera scenario and I'm willing to bet it would be more productive as well. In addition, take a look at their ages:

: 21
Diaz: 21
Beltran: 27
Soriano: 29
Cabrera: 30

By signing Beltran and letting Reyes and Diaz play, the Mets would get just as much bang for their buck (and possibly more) than with Soriano and Cabrera, plus they'd be more likely to improve than with Soriano and Cabrera. In fact, as Peter Gammons points out, Soriano has been on a severe decline the last three years, despite pitching in the Texas bandbox (Sosa too).

Both of the scenarios will push the payroll close to $90 million (assuming Benson signs as well) and it really does seem like Fred Wilpon has agreed to expand the payroll this offseason. The real question is whether they'll spend it wisely.

From what I've been hearing though, I wouldn't bet on it.


At 3:27 PM, Blogger dave said...

Added to the fact that if I'm not mistaken, Soriano struck out 157 times in 2002. Dude whiffs at the high fastball like his name was Jay Payton. Not what you want out of a lead off hitter. Reyes is young enough to learn plate discipline, but Soriano is sorely lacking in this department.

At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you Doctor, Are only problem left then is convincing Beltran to stay. What do You think about trading Glavine for Arroyo and Mientkievits. Something along those parameters. Please rigth back thanks.


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