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  1. Uh, what team would possibly accept a trade to acquire an oft-injured pitcher who’ll make $75 million dollars in the next three years? The Angles?

    Comment by Ryan — April 13, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  2. Very few — which is why I specifically mentioned that the Mets would be paying at least half of his salary. At $12 mil/yr, Johan is much more attractive.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 13, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  3. While it’s always the obvious answer… the Yankees? They could use some starting pitching….

    Comment by NBarnes — April 13, 2011 @ 9:37 am

  4. you just answered your own question. it just takes one crazy team, as it did with wells…

    Comment by jaywrong — April 13, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  5. few… but the point was a lot of teams would accept a trade to acquire an oft-injured, but previously elite, pitcher if the cost was around 37.5 mil over the next 3 years.

    Comment by Steve — April 13, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  6. Good luck trying not to let that option vest for K-Rod. If it looks like the Mets are actively trying to keep him out of the closer role for the sake of blocking the option, they’re going to wind up having to pay it anyway. And that’s just what the Mets need, too: more bad P.R.

    Comment by Mike G. — April 13, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  7. What exactly does “finishing a game” even mean? Obviously if he gets a save that is finishing a game, and the chances of him getting 55 saves is pretty slim, but if he blows a save on a walk-off does that coun’t as “finishing”? If he pitches in a tie game and then the Mets win in the next half inning is he credited with a finish? I definitely think you could keep him in the closer role and if finishing games is the concern only use him it save situations. I doubt he will see 55 save opportunities this season.

    Comment by GrandpaFratastic — April 13, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  8. Long story short: as long as he throws the last pitch for the Mets, yes, it’s a game finished. So if he blows a save in the 9th and the Mets lose: game finished. That’s why 55 games finished is a relatively easy threshold to reach. Crossing my fingers he only gets to 54.

    Comment by Paul Zummo — April 13, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  9. Thanks. Seems like such an odd thing to put in a contract.

    Comment by GrandpaFratastic — April 13, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  10. With Sandy Alderson at the helm, as well as the overall resourses of their market (despite the obvious current issues), I expect them to rebound pretty quickly and have the ability to be more competittive even as soon as 2012. I still expect Reyes will hit free agency, but they have a few other contracts coming off the books that I believe will free up some breathing room for them to put together some decent short-term deals. Those could be nice band-aids as the team forms a longer term approach and gets through their financial situation.

    Comment by TheGrandSlamwich — April 13, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  11. “Seems like such an odd thing to put in a contract.”

    Indeed it is. Omar Minaya – the gift that keeps on giving.

    Comment by Paul Zummo — April 13, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  12. Bad PR? What Met fan would think that is a bad move? A sign of intelligence from the team would certainly qualify as good PR. Its not like Met fans like KRod these days anyway.

    Comment by Dandy Salderson — April 13, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  13. You just trade him at the break to a team with an established closer, eating all his salary if necessary. Voila, problem gone.

    Hell, they can give hime to the Yankees for free (C prospect, Mets pay entire salary) to pitch the 7th inning, if that’s what it takes to prevent the option.

    Comment by snapper — April 13, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  14. They can’t put in statistical performance incentives into the contract. They couldn’t contractually say that it would vest with 55 saves or an ERA less than 2.50 or any other performance stat like that. The next best thing is playing time incentives, with the assumption that if the player is performing well and the team is trying its best to win, they will reach the goal.

    Comment by Dash — April 13, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  15. It wouldn’t be a crazy move for NYY to trade for him provided the Met’s pay a chunk of his contract. Money means less to the Yanks. They can afford to pay a pitcher 13 or 14 million to sit around injured, if the upside is great enough. I think it is in this situation.

    Comment by Bill — April 13, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  16. So, under the assumption that Santana comes back strong, you trade him and eat 50% of his salary (roughly 12m yr). You would then need to sign a pitcher to replace him. To get a front line starter to do this it would cost a minimum of the 12m savings you net from Santana (roughly a Brad Penny level starter).

    So would you rather Brad Pennyish production for a total cost of 24m (12 to Penny 12 to Santana) or just spend the same and have Santana (who would at least put some extra butts in the seats)?

    Replace Penny with almost any 12m a year starter and the same applies.

    Comment by Joel — April 13, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  17. Agree on all points. Pelfrey especially. Pelfrey is only 27 years old right now, but still a full 3 years from free agency. He’ll be 30 in his first free agent season, and probably isn’t a guy you want to extend into his 30s. It may seem silly to have to point out that an inconsistent #3/4 SP shouldn’t be paid an 8 figure salary based on supposedly untapped potential, but the team that paid Oliver Perez $12M/yr. may still need to be reminded of these things from time to time. Pelfrey could even be a trade chip in another year, while being under control has some value, given that the Mets might actually have some depth in mid-rotation types by then (Chris Young, at 32 this year, is looking like a very solid find for the current front office, who could be a veteran presence filling that role for a few more years time at lower cost).

    Not mentioned above though is what the Mets might need to add to change the dynamic of their team. The farm system, while not great, has produced some good complimentary talent in recent years, in Pagan, Davis, and Thole. And with Mejia, Harvey and Familia, it appears there could be some pitching on the way as well. They may be lacking future stars there, but the Mets are a team that ought to be able to afford to acquire and pay a star player from time to time as long as the farm is producing some depth.

    So yes, they ought to be able to pay Reyes, maybe 6 years/$100M or thereabouts, and then maybe look to add one more star talent somewhere if they can find one. Reyes is probably worth a slight overpay just for the excitement and energy he brings to the team. If you are left with a middle of the lineup of Wright, Davis, and Bay, that’s solid but nothing spectacular, and somewhat bland. Still, between Nieuwenhuis or Martinez as potential corner outfielders, and Havens or Tejada on the infield, they ought to be able to fill two more spots in that lineup with decent low cost regulars in coming years.

    So if a marquis bat becomes available for that lineup, or one more marquis arm for the top of that rotation, the Mets should be exploring it. Many times in the past it has been possible to say the Mets were more than one or two players away. In the near future, it looks like they really could be only one or two players away. The depth is starting to look pretty good, but it’s too much to ask David Wright to carry all of the load (both on and off the field) as both the focal point of that lineup and the face of the franchise.

    Somehow this front office seems to be more about the smaller under the radar moves adding up, and for the next year anyway, the Mets are probably in a retooling mode where it will be more about those smaller moves (the pen still needs some fixing for one), breaking in some of the younger talent, and getting their finances in order. But I do think they may be looking to make a big splash at some point in the near future, if they can find a way to add just one more imposing figure in the heart of that batting order.

    Comment by acerimusdux — April 13, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  18. The Sox traded for Jake Peavy while he was hurt, and look how well that’s worked out for them. I’d stay far away from Santana right now.

    Comment by Eddie — April 13, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  19. I wasn’t clear from the description of Beltran if you were aware – per the terms of his contract, the Mets are not allowed to offer arbitration. Therefore if they are to get any future value from him, they need to pray he stays healthy and trade him during the season.

    I agree on the main points above. Last year the Mets found a starting catcher, first baseman, center fielder and two pitchers (Niese and Dickey). If they can find a second baseman (Murphy? Flores? Other?), a corner outfielder (from among Duda, Fernando, Evans, other?) and two more pitchers (from Mejia, Harvey, Gee, other?) this year, plus re-sign Reyes, 2011 will be quite a success in my eyes and we’ll be ready to compete in 2012.

    Comment by Dave I — April 13, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  20. I literally mentioned this in like the 2nd sentence of the Beltran paragraph.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 13, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  21. It will actually makes great sense for the Yankees. The Mets should send some cash along the way to net a A prospect in return — that extra wins are likely going to be THE difference.

    Comment by kampfer — April 13, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  22. The Angles might not but I bet the Saxons would.

    Comment by Joe Twinsfan — April 13, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  23. While I wish Jake Peavy the best, as a Padre fan let me just say:

    Wheeeeeee!!!!!!!!

    Because of Clayton Richard!

    Comment by mike savino — April 13, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  24. Maybe he meant bad PR with possible future Met free agent signings or other players negotiating with them. I agree they should try to avoid the vesting, but it could indeed lead to a lawsuit or at least make some other players hesitate.

    Comment by wobatus — April 13, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  25. It’s not the Bad P.R. they’re worried about… It’s the MLBPA taking a fit.

    Comment by sparbz — April 13, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

  26. Good article Eric.

    Comment by BillWallace — April 13, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  27. Wow!

    I’ve said all of these things at one point or another.

    Pelfrey is not an Ace and won’t be an Ace in the future. Is he a middle rotation pitcher? Maybe. I’ll take that but I don’t want to give him Oliver Perez money to do it. (Even though 12 Mil per isn’t off the reservation)

    K-Rod cannot be allowed to vest. Best option? TRADE HIM. Hey, guess what? He’s still a good relief pitcher and that won’t escape the notice of some teams. Maybe a team like the Yankees who have no fear of needing him to close games but want another great arm in the pen? Maybe someone like the Angels, who have options, though some are iffy?

    Beltran WILL be traded. I just hope we get a pitcher with reasonable potential in the package back. Pagan is fine in CF, Bay is paid to much to lose his job in LF and Martinez, Nieuwenhuis and Duda are all fighting for the same playing time in AAA.

    Options for SS in 2012 and beyond: Re-Sign Jose Reyes = Plan A. He’s the best available player, fans love him, great defense and his bat and legs can change games. Promote Ruben Tejada or Jordany Valdespin = Plan B/C. Jordany is hitting well in AA and has speed (not Jose speed but speed) and power (for a SS). Ruben Tejada is handling the bat well enough but still doesn’t have the power or speed (in my mind) to make it as an everyday player. Sign Jimmy Rollins = Plan D. I list this last because the fans hate him, he’s old, he’s streaky and I really don’t want him.

    Johan Santana Trade Makes SENSE. Sure, he’s an Ace and they are hard to find. You know what? So are top pitching prospects… apparently. Being that Mejia and Harvey are pretty much IT for the Mets. Johan healthy before the deadline might be the biggest trade-able player on the Mets and might get the most significant return.

    Comment by David G — April 13, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  28. I agree completely. If they were going to completely rebuild, I can see trying to trade him – or if they can get some great prospects in a trade, then it might be worthwhile. But if it’s a pure salary dump and they’ll still be on the hook for $12MM/year, they’d be better off keeping Santana.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 13, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  29. Yeah, when I read his comment I thought maybe you edited the article after his post. I thought it was quite clear that they cannot offer arbitration.

    However, I do think it’s a moot point. At his salary, I severely doubt they would offer arbitration even if they were allowed to.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 13, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  30. Nah, not my style vivalajeter. Spelling/grammer, sure, but not that.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 13, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  31. Man, if Boras really did see that the compensation for free agents leaving their teams would start to get exploited right about now SIX YEARS AGO, then he seriously is the best agent a player could ever have…

    Comment by Jason — April 13, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  32. Very good points and I agree on all of them.
    Especially keeping Reyes.
    I’m afraid the Mets will probably have to keep Beltran unless he shows he is healthy and productive and a that point they may be a bidder for his services…as is often the case with high ceiling and high injury risk players.
    Long term success will come from the farm system and I have all the respect in the world for DePodesta!

    Comment by Mike Bravard — April 13, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  33. They’d better get busy, the Jutes are closing fast…

    Comment by Jason B — April 13, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  34. Dave is right – if only those fifteen things fall into place, they will be ready to win 84 games in 2012.

    (I kid, but they’re not particularly close to contention right now, with Beltran, Bay, et al on the downhill sides of their respective careers and a starting rotation that doesn’t have anyone above a #3-caliber starter.)

    Comment by Jason B — April 13, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  35. Eric, you wrote: “The idea that the Mets might be able to extract more in compensatory draft picks than they could in prospects from a trade has to be thrown out the window. They won’t get high compensatory picks, and if they don’t seek a trade, they won’t be able to extract value from him beyond this season in any capacity.” I wanted to be clear the reason they can’t get high picks has nothing to do with Beltran’s value, whether he’d be a Class A or B free agent. Just another of Omar’s gifts that keep on giving…

    Comment by Dave I — April 13, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  36. Dave, yes, but above that I specifically mentioned that they agreed not to offer arbitration. Obviously that’s the reason why. If they didnt include that provision, Type A or Type B would matter. Not sure what you’re reading. It’s all there and has been since 9 AM.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 13, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  37. As a Mets fan I pretty much agree across the board. I hope the financial situation doesn’t hinder the Mets in trying to retain Reyes. I have a bad feeling they’ll be unable to keep him, and losing him would hurt a great deal for the Mets and their fans.

    Comment by Zack Arenstein — April 13, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  38. This. Trade him for nothing and eat his salary if necessary. What team wouldnt want him in the 8th? Problem solved.

    Comment by Dandy Salderson — April 13, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  39. They do not need to sign a $12 Million / year guy to replace him, if they are rebuilding they let Gee, Mejia, Harvey, etc come up, or they sign a Chris Young, Chris Capuano type to hold the role until the young guys are better prepared. The point is that the Mets shouldn’t be spending money on adding a win or two when they need so much more to be ready for a playoff run. Add that to the fact that in return for Santana you will get young, cost controlled players and it would make sense to do this.

    Comment by Dwight — April 13, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  40. The K-Rod option is semi performance incentivised in a certain situation. Like in the unlikely event he blows a save in the top of the 9th and the Mets come back in the bottom of the 9th to tie it….after which a new pitcher would come in the 10th…He would get a “game finished” then. :-P

    Comment by Paul — April 13, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  41. *Wouldn’t

    Comment by Paul — April 13, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  42. And that’s a situation that can get tricky at the end of the year. If he comes into a 2-1 game in September and he’s close to the 55 games finished, then he gives up a run to tie the score – his best course of action is to lose the game. If he only gives up one run, chances are the game goes into extra innings and he doesn’t get a ‘game finished’. The only way for him to get close to the option is to blow the game. For $17MM, that’s quite the conundrum.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 13, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  43. “Much of his success stems from extremely low HR/FB ratios, which can be lower for groundball pitchers”

    Don’t you have that backward? From what I’ve looked at and what others have found, HR/FB ratio seems to go up as groundballs increase. Not that it changes by much — it’s doesn’t seem to be a particularly strong trend, but if there is any significance there, it’s toward lower ratios for flyball pitchers.
    .

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — April 13, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

  44. Most projection systems have them pegged to win 80-82 games this year… it’s gonna be real tough for them to win 84 next year.

    Comment by BlackOps — April 13, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  45. The “bad PR” thing with K-Rod did indeed refer to future free agents more than the fan reaction. And, yes, the bigger issue is with the MLBPA. If the Mets push K-Rod to a middle relief role due to poor performance and he files a grievance, the Mets win. If they push him there if he’s doing well, they’ll win.

    Agree a trade’s a possibility.

    Comment by Mike G — April 14, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  46. 12 pitchers finished 54+ games in 2010.

    Comment by Mike G — April 14, 2011 @ 9:59 am

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