How Mets Can Have it All

annaMany Mets fans are sitting on Santa’s lap this Christmas season (left, just an excuse to use the photo in all of its full-sized glory), asking for a power hitting left fielder, and two new starting pitchers, one of them a true number 2. I don’t know how much pull Mr. Claus has with the Wilpons and Omar Minaya, but it says here the Mets can deliver on this Christmas wish without busting their budget.

We keep hearing the Mets don’t want to go above last year’s $145 million payroll. And we keep hearing the Mets can only sign one of the big three free agents — Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and John Lackey. But here’s a possible 2010 roster with two of them, as well as one of the second-tier free agent pitchers. I estimated on some of the salaries, but I think they will pretty much be in line with the final number:

Johan Santana–$21 million
John Lackey–$13 million (estimate)
Jason Marquis/Joel Pineiro/Jon Garland–$5 million (est.)
Mike Pelfrey–$500,000
John Maine–$2.5 million (est.)

Francisco Rodriguez–$11.5 million
Pedro Feliciano–$2 million (est.)
Bobby Parnell–$500,000 (est.)
Brian Stokes–$500,000 (est.)
Sean Green–$500,000 (est.)
Pat Misch–$500,000 (est.)
Oliver Perez–$12 million

Bengie Molina–$6 million (est.)
Henry Blanco–$750,000

Daniel Murphy–$500,000 (est.)
Luis Castillo–$6 million
Jose Reyes–$9 million
David Wright–$10 million
Joey Cora–$2 million
Backup infielder–$500,000 (est.)

Carlos Beltran–$18.5 million
Jeff Francoeur–$4 million (est.)
Jason Bay–$16 million (est.)
Angel Pagan–$1 million (est.)
Backup outfielder–$1 million (est.)
Total: $144.750 million

mr.metA few notes about my estimates:
 — I only put $13 million for Lackey because that’s where I think he’ll end up. He’s not a true ace, and I think this is appropriate.
— Even though they’re asking for more right now, I think the Mets will nab one of the second-tier starters for around $5 million.
— The Mets will have an open competition for the 5th starter spot, and I predict Maine will win it. That leaves Perez a $12 million long man out of the bullpen.
— The final infield and outfield spots, and a couple of bullpen guys, are up for grabs, but that’s how I see their payroll slots.

So for pretty much the same payroll as last year, the Mets have a much better pitching staff, and more pop in the lineup. With a healthy Beltran and Reyes, and a hopeful return of David Wright’s power, the Mets could have a lineup that stacks up with any other team in baseball. And, if they can somehow deal Luis Castillo and not take on a huge contract in return, they can sign Orlando Hudson for around $8 million per year and still keep the payroll in line. This is not a dream team by any means, but it is realistic and doable. This roster could easily compete and win in 2010 — not a bad Christmas gift for us long suffering Mets fans.

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