By Rich Coutinho
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Where will Jose Reyes be playing in 2012?

That’s been openly discussed all season long. The speculation will only intensify during the final few weeks, so I decided to take a look at the numbers to see what could happen — and Mets fans might like the results.

The Mets’ payroll at the start of 2011 was around $142 million, with many high ticket items coming off the 2012 payroll, including:

  • Luis Castillo, $6.25 million
  • Ollie Perez, $12 million
  • Carlos Beltran,  $20.7 million
  • Jose Reyes, $11 million (we will add his new numbers in later)
  • Gary Matthews Jr., $1 million (yes, that Gary Matthews — maybe his dad should pipe down)

To date, New York has $66 million committed to contracts in 2012.  They include:

  • Johan Santana, $21 million
  • Jason Bay, $18.1 million
  • David Wright, $15.2 million
  • R.A. Dickey, $4.75 million
  • D.J. Carrasco, $1.2 million

There are also a number of players, likely to be with the Mets, that are under their control. They include:

  • Ike Davis
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Josh Thole
  • Pedro Beato
  • Lucas Duda
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Jonathan Niese
  • Dillon Gee
  • Justin Turner

These players will comprise about $9 million, since most will make the league minimum ($414,000 in 2011).

How about arbitration eligible players? Their contracts include:

  • Mike Pelfrey, $3.9 million in 2011
  • Angel Pagan, $3.5 million in 2011
  • Bobby Parnell, $434,000 in 2011

I would think Mets would budget about $10 million for these three players if they plan on retaining them.

Aside From Reyes, the Mets’ soon-to-be free agents are Capuano, Hairston, Brydak, Young and Harris. I would think most won’t be back with Brydak and Capuano being the most likely candidates to stay.

So to summarize:

  • $10 million for retaining arbitration eligible players
  • $66 million for committed contracts
  • $9  million For players under Mets’ control
  • $7  million for incumbent free agents aside from Reyes

That totals $92 million in estimated cost.

I think that’s high because it is assuming the Mets will keep all three arbitration-eligible players. Now, their payroll is likely to sit at $125-130 million, which would be $10-15 million less than last year. That means they would have anywhere from $33-38 million left to sign Reyes and spend on other players.

Now, even if Reyes gets $20 million per year, that still leaves $13-18 million to address the bullpen and perhaps an additional starting pitcher. I think the Reyes contract will be closer to $17 million, but you get the point here.

The numbers indicate the Mets can keep Reyes and Wright, revamp the bullpen, and with a healthy Santana — they can compete. How is that possible, you ask? The catcher, first base, second base and right field positions are manned by Ike, Tejada, Duda and Thole. All of those players are budgeted at close to the league minimum. Furthermore, bench players like Murphy and Turner, even pitchers like Gee, Niese and Beato sit there as well.

And here’s the kicker: more pitching help is on the way with the likes of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and others heading toward a 2013 debut. And those players will be under the team’s control at friendly prices for years to come.

And by that time, more money can be devoted to other areas.

But the bottom line here is Reyes is destined to stay in Flushing and the money is here to rope him in. That is the top priority for this organization as they head into the 2011-2012 offseason.

Do you agree with Coutinho’s logic? Let him know in the comments below…

Comments (16)
  1. Larry-the-Bartender says:

    Hey Rich, your numbers look good! I hope your right and they can resign Jose!

    I believe fans can put some pressure on front office to help the cuase. To VOTE to KEEP Jose in ORANGE and BLUE go to:

    Final fan vote will be mailed!!

    -cheers “Larry-the-Bartender”

  2. Joseph Kargol says:

    2012 will be another transition year as the Mets wait for the young pitchers (and others) to develop. I wouldn’t spend big on pitching since guys like Harvey, Familia, and maybe Holt or Familia could be ready by mid season. For second base, I’d let Turner. Tejada, and Murphy fight it out with Satin and Valdespin in spring training, knowing that Havens might be the eventual answer. Pagan might be good for one more year until Nieuwenhuis is ready.For RF give Duda a shot, at least he can hit. Where’s Ronny Paulino in all this? He’s better than Thole. But I’d still re-sign Reyes. The team sucks without him and I’d rather they suck part time than suck for a whole season.

    1. Bryan says:

      Remember the old Branch Rickey line to Ralph Kiner? Kiner was Pittsburgh’s only star and had hit 40 Home Runs the year before. He wanted a raise. Rickey told him, “we finished in last place with you, we can finish in last place without you.” Apply that to Jose Reyes. Lets be completely realistic for a moment. Do you really think all the Mets have to endure is one more year of pain, then flip a switch, its 2013, Harvey and Wheeler are ready and we get to the World Series? Isn’t it nice to think so? Really by the time Anderson has finished rebuilding this team Reyes will be another five or so years older. I would pass.

  3. Vinny says:

    It’s bad enough seeing the fans wave the pom poms over the years with the supposed “core” but to see the media to the SAME EXACT THING with Wright,Reyes,Santana etc., is ABSOLUTELY NAUSEATING! So far with the FANTASTIC trade of Beltran for Wheeler and dumping K-Roid, Alderson REALLY has this team going in the right direction. Now, he MUST be willing to take the brunt of the MORONIC fans and really break this team up and build from the bottom on up. Trade Wright to the Rockies and get as much as you can from them. They should’ve dealt Reyes and gotten something but,now,let him walk and get draft picks. They should NEVER give an oft-injured SHOWBOAT the kind of money or years he’s asking! He’s a Cancer to this team and it’s FINALLY time to cut bait! They had to learn something when the Twins dealt a washed up Santana for,basically a bag of balls. He had already peaked and they didn’t want to be conned into an ABSURD contract! The Mets took the bait and now are strapped down to this for several more years! They should look at ALL options into dumping Santana and Bay (the Red Sox played the role of the Twins with Bay) Take on alot of that money and/or a bad salary and MOVE ON! They then should invest in a TRUE SUPERSTAR-Prince Fielder. A guy you actually can build around and start the true re-building process! Keep Ike Davis until he can prove himself healthy and trade him as well. With the deep Pitching in the Minors for the Mets and a solid nucleus with (with these moves) Fielder, who we get from Colorado,Thole,Duda and other young, up and coming prospects, this should FINALLY be a team NY can root for that’ll win and rid themselves of all the GARBAGE Minaya put on the field for YEARS! Alderson OBVIOUSLY is to the Mets what Donnie Walsh was to the Knicks. HOPEFULLY, the Coupons won’t BLOW IT the way Dolan did

    1. Sean McDonald says:

      yes…lets move on from reyes bc hell command about 100 mil and might have some injuries along the way and give a 200 million dollar 10 year deal to the next mo vaughn, while moving the young underpaid gold glove 1b we have into the of, where he will most likely not be a very good fielder in the process… glad you’re not our gm

    2. Shea says:

      I HEAR that the MORE capitalization you USE the more it MAKES your MORONIC points sound like they are RIGHT!

  4. metsfaninparadise says:

    It’s not “Brydak,” you bryd-brain, it’s “Byrdak.”

  5. joey p says:

    Let Reyes walk and take the two draft picks. Tejada takes ss and Mets should trade for Gardner to leadoff and play cf.

  6. Paul says:

    The Mets should have the money to make a competitive offer to Jose Reyes, but what if he decides he’d rather go to a team that could be in the World Series next year?

    It’s not just about “Can the Mets afford to pay Jose Reyes?,” it’s also about “Where does Jose Reyes want to play?” We won’t find out the answer to that second question for a few more months.

    1. Todd says:

      you’re right, that is the question, does he wants to play for the Mets. What happens is the Phillies, Red Sox or Braves come calling. Not only offering him the money, but the chance to win a championship.

      Though in most cases it’s always about the big money. The Mets do have money problems. Reyes could go to the highest bidder. There are many teams out there that will need a shortstop.

      People were happy to hear Mauer stayed with the Twins, but it will cost the team $184 mil for 7 yrs at $24 mil a yrs. So much for homegrown & a discount.

  7. mad Mr. Met says:

    From your lips to God’s ears Rich. Amen!

  8. Paul Sadaphal says:

    Logic seems sound to me. I have been having this argument with my family who are convinced that the Mets are about to become the Pittsburgh Pirates in regards to payroll. The money is there for Reys which is why I think getting K-Rod’s vesting option out of the way was such a priority after the all star game.

  9. ace11 says:

    Here we go again Rich:

    Reyes is GONE…..1 team will blow him out of the water and it wont be the Mets..

    and Wright will be gone within a year or 2….

    Wake up Rich

    wake the hell up

    1. Bobby says:

      I agree, the guy is not worth the $20 mil a year Rich wrote down. Reyes can’t stay healthy & is not a guy who bats in the middle of the line-up who can carry a team.

      Look at his career stats, in 9 yrs the Mets have never won with Reyes, that speaks value. Rich is dreaming.

      The Mets will not spend $20 mil a year on just one player. That’s not how Alderson works. He will take whatever money is avaliable in the payroll on other needs, like pitching & catching.

      The Mets need a 2nd baseman, 2 outfielders, CF & RF who can hit & cover ground. Pagan is a flash in the pan as a hitter. Let’s not forget the Mets need to fix the bullpen & NEED a closer.

      Reyes is a good player, but not a player making $20 mil a year who can’t carry a team to the title. His career stats in every September speak for themselves.

      Where’s Reyes right now? oh yeah, on the DL

      1. Sean McDonald says:

        “Look at his career stats, in 9 yrs the Mets have never won with Reyes, that speaks value. Rich is dreaming.”

        and in the 6 years w/ prince, milwaukee hasnt won anything either…

        texas never won w/ arod

        the giants never won w/ bonds

        you’re point is?

      2. Bobby says:

        my point is Sean McDonald like you stated with Bonds, A-Rod & Fielder, who put in numbers Reyes & Wright can only dream of, if they did not win how can the Mets win with two overrated players in Wright & Reyes.

        Thanks for bringing up Bonds, A-Rod & Fielder, you clearly understood my comment. You’re smart, you got my point, you move ahead of the class.

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