As some people may know, the Mets actually project a lower payroll right now than the Phillies. In the grand scheme of things that means nothing. But after a convo with some old friends (who happen to be Phils fans) in my comment section, I’d like to examine this issue further.
The banter started innocently enough. One comment about trading Ruben Amaro Jr. to the Mets for “that old toilet the centerfield apple used to bob up and down in” and I had to address good old Rube. You see, Philadelphia will have to rely heavily on the farm again after 2011 due to the skyrocketing payroll.
Having linked that, let’s take a look at two of the comments:
ME: All joking aside, they may actually run him out of Philly in the next few years the way he’s got the payroll headed north of NYM/Boston. (2010: 25 players: 135 million, 2011: 15 players, same 135 million, etc.) He’s built a win now team out of Pat Gillick’s long term efficiency formula of “60% homegrown 30% free agent 10% trade” Perhaps, when Amaro’s traded for the Mets’ “toilet,” as you so eloquently call it, the Phanatic can give him an adios swirley in it.
Phanatic: Booben’s blowing up the payroll. It’s not all together his fault given that the core’s contracts were going to push the payroll well above 100 million. But your point is well taken. They won’t have a payroll less than 150 next year and I’m including losing Jason Werth in that projection. It was my biggest issue with the Halladay trade. They gave up two guys, Taylor (I loved him) and Drabek, who were likely contributers at a low cost. Taylor would have plugged right in for Werth. Ahh well, hard to complain about Halladay. 70 million comes off the books after 2011 but that’s in the form of Howard, Rollins and Ibanez. We have a replacement for Ibanez but the leadership and sheer run production of Rollins and Howard will be difficult to address. I really can’t see Howard resigning. I think the Red Sox may be in the market by then and the Phils can’t reasonably afford such a potentially expensive player, but we’ll see. Good problems to have.
Good problems to have indeed. Don’t let the pressure get to you, Phillies. Mets fans look forward to being the underdogs going into the season. Now the division is Philly’s to lose. Plus, anything above a third place finish will “surprise” the ever so pessimistic media. I’m a little more hopeful than that knowing what this group has done in the years prior to 2009.
Now, back to the good guys. The Mets seem to be coveting the farm this offseason, and I applaud them for it. Our perennial search for a healthy power hitting 1B ends with Ike Davis. He projects major league status in 2011. If we can continue to acquire and focus on that kind of talent behind the scenes, then free agency can be a splurge on talent as we fill our “role player” holes with homegrown guys. I’m pretty sure that’s the goal now. But I guess we’ll see if all the saving they did this offseason was so they could finally pay over slot in the draft.
Lastly, the point of this article was to point out that if the Mets continue to focus on the farm and can acquire a top pitcher in the next offseason or two, there is a big chance the perennial playoff team we thought we saw in 2006 can finally become a reality. The Phillies can’t keep all their stars and their farm is significantly weaker after the Lee/Halladay trades. Their time is right now. Our time may finally be on the horizon.