Monday, February 23, 2009

Will Mets spend in midseason?

The Mets couldn't afford Bobby Abreu or Orlando Hudson at a big discount. So what's the guarantee that they will trade for a full-price outfielder during the season?

The Post's Joel Sherman says that if Ryan Church falters and Fernando Martinez is not ready,

it will not be very deep into the season that you are going to hear the Mets linked to some expensive right field option from a team looking to dump salary in a bad economy. My early-line favorites are: Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, the White Sox's Jermaine Dye and Kansas City's Jose Guillen.

As Sherman points out, these are not cheap options. Magglio Ordonez makes $15 million. Trading for him at midseason would cost almost as much as it would have to have signed Abreu for the whole year.

And Abreu would have been for just one year. Ordonez has options for the next two years at $15 million a year. These options become guaranteed if Ordonez starts 135 games or has 540 plate appearances in the previous season, or double those amounts over the previous two seasons.

Ordonez just turned 35. In this economy, is there any scenario in which the Mets would be wise to give him an additional $30 million for 2010 and 2011?

Jermaine Dye is also 35 (he and Ordonez coincidentally were born on the same day - January 28, 1974). Dye will make $11.5 million this season. He and the White Sox have a mutual option for next year with a $1 million buyout.

So Dye would come cheaper than Ordonez, but a midseason acquisition would still cost almost $6 million. And while the Tigers might be willing to dump Ordonez because of the prohibitive salary, the White Sox will want some good prospects in return for Dye.

Yes, Abreu is lefthanded and the Mets could use a righty hitter, but a full season of Abreu for $8 million would have made a lot more sense than half a season of Dye for almost $6 million, plus prospects the Mets can't really spare from their thin farm system.

As for Jose Guillen, he's entering the second year of a three-year, $36 million contract. Trading for him at midseason would leave the Mets on the hook for $18 million.

Here's the latest on Guillen:

The ongoing José Guillen Chronicles added two new installments Saturday at the Royals’ camp — a link to a controversial Dominican trainer and yet another ailment.

Two days ago, Guillen performed self-surgery in removing an ingrown toenail. Saturday saw him nursing a sore right shoulder before confirming he has worked with Angel Presinal but denying those workouts ever included performance-enhancing drugs.

I just hope that toenail surgery isn't on YouTube!

I don't want Guillen on the Mets at a discount, much less with his contract. But none of these guys will come at a discount, which is why something will have to change if any of them are to end up on the Mets. And the way the economy is going, and the way Citibank is going, any changes could very well be for the worse.

And how will the Mets explain making a $20 or $30 million commitment to one of these players at midseason when they won't make a similar offer to Manny Ramirez?

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