Playing around with the Mets’ budget, pre and post Mariners trade

Latest update from SNY’s Andy Martino does not have the big trade with the Mariners being completed today. And until the deal is done, there’s always the possibility it falls apart. So, let’s pretend for a minute that trade doesn’t happen. And let’s see what other options are out there for the Mets.

Unfortunately, we always have to start with salary as the owners impose financial restraints that other big market clubs don’t have. And please – no comments about the cheap owners. We all know, understand and agree. We don’t need Captain Obvious pointing out that the sky is blue.

Here’s what’s for sure, with all totals in millions:

$29 – Cespedes
$15 – Wright
$14 – Bruce
$ 9 – Frazier
$ 9 – Lagares
$ 8.5 – Swarzak
$ 8 – Vargas
Total – $92.5

Arbitration Estimates from MLBTR
$12.9 – deGrom
$5.9 – Syndergaard
$5.3 – Wheeler
$4.7 – Flores
$4.4 – Conforto
$3.7 – d’Arnaud
$3 – Matz
$1.3 – Plawecki
Total – $41.2

That’s $133.7 million for 15 players, two of which won’t be on the Opening Day roster. So, the club has to fill 12 spots and while many of them will be minimum wage type guys, that doesn’t leave a ton of available payroll, assuming that the number will be similar to the OD payrolls of the past two seasons.

Last year they paid Matz $577,000 so let’s use that figure for the upper end of the pre-arb players and assign minimum wage to the remaining slots and see what total we’re at and how much money remains. Minimum wage will be $555,000 in 2019.

$.577 – Lugo
$.577 – Gsellman
.577 – Nimmo
.577 – Rosario
.555 – McNeil
.555 – backup infielder
.555 – backup outfielder – need two
.555 – reliever – need 4
Total – $8.1 million

That’s $141.8 million with eight guys making minimum wage and four others making well under one million. And since last year’s OD payroll was $150.6 million and the year before was $154.4 million – that only leaves roughly $12 million to spend without a significant upgrade in the available budget.

If the club non-tenders d’Arnaud and Flores, that’s a net addition of $7.3 million, assuming they’re replaced with minimum wage guys.

That’s roughly $19 million to divide somehow among catcher, first base, outfield and the bullpen. You have to make choices and it’s hard to imagine that this type of budget leaves money for first base or the outfield. They have to spend something on a catcher because the idea of Plawecki and a minimum wage guy is hard to accept. And while some of the relievers will be in-house options, it’s hard not to imagine a closer being where the club spends money.

Now, let’s do this with the reported Mariners deal, which has from a major league roster perspective Bruce and Swarzak leaving and Cano and Diaz and roughly $12 million arriving.

SP – deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Vargas — $35.1
RP – Diaz (pre-arb), Gsellman, Lugo, 4 minimum wage guys – let’s call it a nice round $4 million
C – Plawecki, minimum wage – round up to $2
INF – Cano, McNeil, Rosario, Frazier, 1B, backup MI – roughly $25
OF – Conforto, Nimmo, Lagares, two backups – roughly $12
Dead Money – Wright, Cespedes – $44

That’s $122.1 million, leaving roughly $30 million for upgrades. You no longer have to spend on a closer, although you’ll still probably add at least one reliever. But even setting aside $5 million for a reliever, you still have $25 million for a catcher, 1B and OF. And there’s always the option to play Cano at 1B for however long Cespedes is out or until Alonso is deemed ready. Or you could focus on still spending on the bullpen to go along with the new catcher. Something like Grandal and Callaway’s old pal Miller.

It could be a post All-Star break lineup like this:

CF – Nimmo
LF – Cespedes
RF – Conforto
C – Grandal
2B – Cano
1B – Alonso
3B – McNeil/Frazier
SS – Rosario

At the start of the year it would have Lagares instead of Cespedes in the outfield, with Cano at first and McNeil at second. With the starters intact and a bullpen of Diaz, Miller and Lugo to shut the door, it could work.

19 comments for “Playing around with the Mets’ budget, pre and post Mariners trade

  1. November 30, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I think if the Mets sign Grandal and Miller and extend DeGrom then Mets fans will be happy and we will compete. I don’t know how trading Syndergaard makes any sense however. That would require signing another SP for a bunch of $$

  2. November 30, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    In Review—you’ve eliminated Flores and d’Arnaud from the “after the trade”… so, it’s really a push—within a couple of million.

    • November 30, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      What you’re saying isn’t clear to me.

      It seems you’re saying that keeping the two non-tender guys eliminates the savings from the proposed deal – well, that’s simply not true. If we cut them both without the trade, the Mets have expenditures of roughly $134.5 million. If we cut them both with the trade, they have expenditures of roughly $122.1 million – while fortifying the bullpen and possibly even 1B.

      • November 30, 2018 at 4:04 pm

        No Brian…I was just observing that the Trade is pretty much Salary Neutral, at least in year one—you included Wilmer and Travis in your Pre-Trade Model and left them off the Post Trade iteration.

        • November 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

          No I didn’t.

          Here’s the salary they add on:

          Cano – $24 million – 12 million per that Mariners are sending over = $12 million
          Diaz – pre arb

          Here’s the salary they lose:

          Bruce – $14 million
          Swarzak – $8.5 million

          That’s around $10 million that they save, regardless of what they do with Flores and TDA

  3. Joe F
    November 30, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Don’t think they are spending money at 1B with the available internal options. Maybe if Alonso falls flat and Smith shows nothing, but given limited resources, I think it will be focused on pen and C

  4. Chris F
    November 30, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    TdA stays (for now…)

    Flores (mercifully) non tendered.

    • November 30, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      I hope this means the medicals are ok on d’Arnaud.

      Would Alderson have cut Flores? I’d like to think so but I wouldn’t have wagered money on it.

      • Chris F
        November 30, 2018 at 5:59 pm

        I think this is an insurance tendering with minimal cost involved. The Mets need a catcher still (Gomes in final throes of being moved to Nats), but at least he has experience. My understanding is if he is released prior to the start of the season the financial exposure is < 1M$.

  5. November 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Since the Mets seem to be bringing back d’Arnaud I think I have a handle on what they plan to trade Noah Syndergaard for.

    Mets trade Noah Syndergaard to the Padres for Francisco Mejia, Chris Paddock and other prospects. I’d like MacKenzie Gore but I doubt it. More likely to be an assortment of other good prospects (I’d want Anderson Espinosa, but we shall see).

    This would give the Mets room to transition Mejia up and pitching prospects to make up for this trade with Seattle. Chris Paddock immediately replaces Justin Dunn in the depth charts and give the Mets someone who can step into Syndergaard’s spot in the near future.

    • November 30, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      I hope that a Syndergaard deal is off the table.

      I really dislike the idea of trying to replace him with a free agent starter. That seems destined to fail.

  6. November 30, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    a 36 year old 2bman and then trading a very good under control 25 year old RH Pitcher—even though I’m not a Noah Booster, the guy they sign to replace him is more expensive and not as good.

    I dispise one foot on the platform with the other on the train!!!!

  7. MattyMets
    November 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    So many things happening at once! Feels like that scene in Anchorman when they all start shouting out nonsense. “Loud noises!” Hope when all the chips fall we’re left with a team that makes sense. Trading away an affordable 25-year-old potential ace pitcher and two top prospects, bringing in an expensive 36-year-old second baseman, releasing one of our few good righty bats and a fan favorite, bringing back the world’s most injuey prone catcher…is there method to this madness???

  8. November 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    As I’ve stated on numerous occasions I’ll take Marwin Gonzalez as a super sub that takes only 1 roster spot but can play multiple positions infield and outfield. Grandal takes care of catcher. Which still leaves you with money for pen relief.

  9. November 30, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    You can always trade TDA in ST

  10. November 30, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Why trade Thor and add a FA who may or may not work out playing in NYC? You need that 3rd starter in the playoffs. Kinda reminds me of a young Nolan Ryan just starting to find his potential.

  11. Nym6986
    December 1, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I like the Cano trade both for the players and the money. We have to try and win in the next few years with our starting staff. Keep Thor. Get a catcher and one more strong right handed bat and we compete for the division and more. It’s just that simple. We have no great track record of drafting players so why kid ourselves about the potential of our prospects. When did the last 20 year old we groomed hit the majors? Doc and Straw? Let’s give our new and inexperienced GM some time to move this team forward

  12. Metsense
    December 1, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Your analysis of the salaries is spot on Brian. The Mets should have signed a free agent catcher, preferably Grandal or Ramos before the non-tender deadline. They should have non-tendered both Travis and Wilmer and saved 8.4 million dollars that could have gone to part of Grandal’s contract. Tendering Travis’s contract is very bewildering. No one should be untouchable unless it improves the team. I’m opposed to the Syndergaard trade but if it blew me away then you’d have to make that trade. That trade would have be a MLB star who would put the Mets over the top in their win now philosophy not a bunch of prospects. Right now the front office is sending crossed signals to the fan base.

  13. jennifer c
    December 1, 2018 at 10:32 am

    That 12.9 estimate on deGrom is a lowball due to antiquated arb system. Weren’t they saying that before he won Cy? 12.9 is the min he’s getting.

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