By my calculations, the Mets have around 12 million left to spend after signing Francisco Rodriguez and trading for JJ Putz. With that 12 million, they would like to sign a starting pitcher. Below are some names that they could consider.
Derek Lowe. He seems like their top target. The only question is if they can afford Lowe. His price seems to be dropping now that the Yankees and Phillies are out, but I’m still not convinced that he will get less than 14 million per year. The Reds Sox and Braves make a whole lot of sense even though they haven’t made it public. The only way I see Lowe in a Mets uniform is if they make a trade or two to clear some salary. The problem is, they don’t have any expendable pieces.
Oliver Perez. To me, a return of Oliver Perez is the most likely possibility for the Mets. I don’t think that they can afford Lowe, and I can’t find our any other good suitors for Ollie other than the Mets. I guess the Dodgers could make an inquiry, but they seems more willing to sign a starter like Randy Johnson to a short term deal. Perez is the best option available to the Mets unless they do somehow bring in Lowe. Again, that’s not likely.
Randy Wolf. He makes sense because he is a left handed starter that could come on a 1 year deal. Wolf was very solid last year, and could be a really nice pick-up if he stays healthy. Wolf has got some upside, and I would be willing to take him on if Lowe or Perez cannot be signed.
Jon Garland. You could make the argument that he makes more sense than Wolf. Garland is younger, more durable, and has a better track record. However, Wolf was better last year, has more strike-outs, and is a lefty. I think it will pretty much come down to whomever will come cheaper for a shorter term. Garland would make a solid aquisition to the Mets’ pitching staff.
Jason Marquis. The Cubs have made it known that he is available, and they would probably even toss in some money. Marquis is from New York, will come on a 1 year deal, and is pretty much just as good as Wolf and Garland. If the Cubs bring his salary down to, say 7 million, a deal could be possible.
So, if I was the Mets’ GM Omar Minaya, I would go hard after Lowe and Perez. If both players were pushed out of my budget, I would aquire Wolf, Garland, or Marquis. Since they all are similar pitchers, I would just take on the cheapest one. The remaining money could be used on a cheap fifth starter candidate like Pedro Martinez or Bartolo Colon. You can never have too much pitching depth.
The deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents was 12:00 P.M. Eastern Time yesterday. You can read all about free agent compensation here, see how the Elias ranking work here, and see those rankings here. Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for all of these links. Below are players offered and not offered arbitration that I deemed questionable. Ignore the bolded posts; I can’t find a way to get rid of the.
- D’Backs don’t offer arb. to Adam Dunn. This was the dumbest decision of them all. Not to offer Dunn arbitration for fear he would accept is just plain sily. There would have been a 98% chance that he declines to sign for multiple years elsewhere, netting the D’Backs two picks. Even if for some reason he did accept the offer of arbitration, he would be a great trade chip. Dunn on a 1 year, 15 million dollar deal would bring back a lot in return. This makes zero sense to me and proves how cheap the D’Backs are.
- Phillies don’t offer arb. to Pat Burrell. It’s like the same thing as with Dunn. These guys are great players; they deserve an offer of arbitration. I know that the Phils don’t have much money to spend, but Burrell on a cheap 1 year deal would be a great piece to their team. They could either let Jamie Moyer go and keep Burrell, or even if they really wanted to not be stuck with Burrell, they could have just traded him. Like Dunn, he would make a lot of sense for a lot of teams for a year. This one does’t make much sense either.
- Yankees don’t offer arb. to Bobby Abreu. I find this surprising, because I know for a fact that Abreu would’ve declined and signed elsewhere on a multi-year contract. There was no way he was coming back to New York, and even if he did, he would be solid trade chip. I’m not understanding their logic on this one.
- Cubs don’t offer arb. to Kerry Wood. This was just flat out dumb. First of all, what were the chance that Wood would actually accept an offer of arbitration? I’d say around 20%. We all know that he deeply wants to stay with the Cubs, but I doubt he would sacrifice a possible 15-20 million to stick in Chicago. If Woody did accept, they could always just trade him. His salary would be moveable, and they could even get a decent prospect back. To me, this was just utter stupidness.
- Phillies don’t offer arb. to Jamie Moyer. I have no idea why Moyer didn’t get an offer. Wouldn’t the Phils like Jamie back on a 1 year deal at market price? Isn’t that what they are trying to get done this offseason; resign Moyer. I know that he stood a good chance of accepting, but I don’t think that would be a bad thing. At least you know you can get a pick if he does leave for whatever reason. Ruben Amaro has not had a very good start to his general managing career if you ask me.
- Astros don’t offer arb. to Randy Wolf. Remember when the Astros were supposedly the frontrunners for Ben Sheets? Now they can’t even afford Randy Wolf on a 1 year deal. I didn’t know that their payroll was this tight. Like a lot of other players on this list, he would have been very easy to trade had he accepted. Also, wasn’t this the reason for trading for Wolf, so that they could get a sandwich pick for some AAAA reliever? I think that trade is looking even worse now because the ‘Stros had to know at the time of the trade that they couldn’t afford to offer arb. to Wolf or to resign him. The Astros are one of the worst run franchises in all of baseball.
- Dodgers don’t offer arb. to Joe Beimel. This guy made only 2 million last year, and stands a great chance at nabbing at least a two year deal on the open market. I don’t see why the Dodgers wouldn’t offer to him. Beilmel would be a bargain on a 1 year deal, so he is a tradeable asset if the Dodgers truly didn’t want him.
- Cardinals don’t offer arb. to Braden Looper. He would be a great bargain on a one year deal, and is said to be looking for 3 years, making it likely he declines. Looper would’ve provided great depth to their rotation if they wanted him. Even if the Cards didn’t want him, he would be very easy to trade. This was a dumb decision and it will cost the Cards a sandwich pick.
- Cardinals don’t offer arb. to Russ Springer. I though they wanted him back. A 1 year deal at market value would be a good signing for them. I know that they knew he would accept, but that’s a good thing. Well, at least I think so.
- Mets don’t offer arb. to Luis Ayala. I know he was completely terrible last year, but he was solid in his stint with the Mets and has had a great track record his entire career. (except for last year, of course) He made only 1.7 million last year, and would be a solid signing for a year at about 2.5 million. If he declined, they would have gotten a draft pick for him.
As you can see there were a lot of teams that I felt made a mistake by not offering a key player arbitration. It looks like the economy is hurting everyone.
CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett, Ben Sheets, and Ryan Dempster have all been generating a lot of buzz this winter, but I also want to analize the second tier of starters; the players beyond the top 5. Oliver Perez, Jon Garland, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Andy Pettitte, Braden Looper, Jamie Moyer, Randy Wolf, Odalis Perez, Paul Byrd, Freddy Garcia, and Tom Glavine represent this tier. Some of these players will take one year deals with their former team, while others will look to sign 3 or 4 year deals. Of the above mentioned names, it seems that Maddux will retire. Glavine, Moyer, Pettitte, and Odalis Perez seem destined to resign with their former teams. That would leave Oliver Perez, Garland, Johnson, Looper, Wolf, Garcia and Byrd as the players who could truly be available. Johnson seems like the best bargain of the bunch; he had the best stats and will take a one year deal. He could generate the same buzz that Curt Schilling did last year. Garcia, Looper, and Byrd are solid back-of-the-rotation options that could come in on 1 year deals. The latter two have a lot of experience, and could be attractive to bad teams looking for veteran guidance. The Pirates seem like a team that could fit in well. Garcia has a lot of upside and should be a hot commodity once bigger names fall. The Giants, Brewers, Astros, Tigers, Indians, and Braves could find themselves a match in this cheaper group. The only players that will atempt to get a multi-year deal out of this group are Oliver Perez, Garland, and Wolf. Scott Boras will try to get 4 years for Perez because he is a young player with great stuff that racked up 180 strike-outs last year. All of this despite his 4.22 ERA. Garland will be a much tougher sell. He was bad last year with an ERA of 4.90 and very few Ks. However, he is about as solid as it gets when it comes to eating innings. He’s gone at least 190 innings per year for 8 straight years. If you want a young innings eater that won’t get hurt and could give you league average production, you’ll look at Garland. Wolf was very solid last year. He had an ERA of 4.30 to go along with 162 strike-outs in 190 innings, his most since 2003. He is quite a gamble because of his health issues, however. I could see him netting a 2 year deal under the right circumstances, though. So teams may find many bargains in the second tier because only 3 players will most likely look for multi year deals.
This is a post where you can click on any tag you want to. It will be a side-bar link.
It seems as if it is getting more and more likely that the Tigers will place Magglio Ordonez on the trade block this offseason. They want to open up payroll so they can go out and fill a need or two via free agency. Their projected payroll if they keep everyone is about 125 million. They want to lower it to the 110 range. Magglio would have to go in that situation. He is set to make 15 million next year. They could probably stomach a 115 or 120 million payroll. So if they trade Magglio they still have 5 to 10 million to spend. One possible destination is to the Blue Jays for Scott Downs and a pitching prospect. Downs is the reliever they need. Marcus Thames could handle right field, but a platoon would be more helpful. They can sign David Eckstein for shortstop. A bargain-basement starter and a righty-mashing right fielder could also help. Maybe they sign Eric Hinske or Cliff Floyd. The starter they add could be a guy like Randy Wolf or Paul Byrd. Another possibility is to trade Ordonez to the Braves for Rafeal Soriano or Mike Gonzalez. One of them could be available if the Braves resign John Smoltz for the bullpen. Both are signed on one year deals. They could then do the same I stated above to fill their other holes. It would be tough for the Tigers to improve by trading away one of their best hitters, but it is possible if they can fill multiple holes with the money opened up.
The hitters market isn’t that good, but now we get to the best part, the pitching. I labled the starters with what kind of starter I think they are. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, C5, (Which means competing for the 5th spot) and DL. (Which means they are returning from the DL, or an injury)
- 1. CC Sabathia
- 1. Ben Sheets
- 1. John Lackey (9 million club option with a 0.5 million buyout)
- 2. Ryan Dempster
- 2. Mike Mussina
- 2. Derek Lowe
- 2. AJ Burnett (Can opt out)
- 3. Oliver Perez
- 3. Jon Garland
- 3. Kyle Lohse
- 3. Tim Wakefield (4 million club option)
- 3. Greg Maddux
- 3. Andy Pettitte
- 3. Randy Johnson
- 3. Brad Penny (8.75 million club option with a 2 million buy out)
- 4. Jamie Moyer
- 4. Braden Looper
- 4. Odalis Perez
- 4. Kenny Rogers
- 4. Tom Glavine
- 4. Randy Wolf
- 5. Paul Byrd
- 5. Jon Lieber
- 5. Livan Hernandez
- C5. Mark Hendrickson
- C5. Brett Tomko
- C5. Josh Fogg
- C5. Kip Wells
- C5. Tony Armas Jr.
- DL. John Smoltz (12 million club option)
- DL. Roger Clemens
- DL. Freddy Garcia
- DL. Curt Schilling
- DL. Pedro Martinez
- DL. Jason Jennings
- DL. Mark Mulder (11 million club option with a 1.5 million buyout)
- DL. Orlando Hernandez
- DL. Mark Prior
- DL. Esteban Loaiza
- DL. Carl Pavano (13 million club option with a 1.95 million buyout)
- DL. Mike Hampton
- DL. Matt Clement
- DL. Kris Benson
Teams in Need
- Dodgers (get 2)
- Blue Jays
- Astros (get 2)
- Red Sox (Only for a #1)