Mets Could Offer Jose Reyes a Heavily Back-Loaded Contract

Money might be an issue for the Mets now, but how about in 2014? Aside from just hoping the Wilpons financial situation will be in a better place two years from now, one also has to consider that $41.5 million will come off the books in 2014 since Johan Santana and Jason Bay‘s contracts will expire.

Given the apparent $100 million budget for 2012, maybe Reyes would be willing to accept a deal that pays him around $10-12 million per season in 2012 and 2013, but anywhere from $25-30 million per season in 2014 and 2015. Assuming the Mets tender Angel Pagan and Taylor Buchholz contracts, the Mets 2012 payroll would hover around $82 million if Reyes were to agree to such a deal.

Continuing with the hypothetical, the Mets would then have around $15-18 million to spend on another starter, a closer, a few bullpen arms, and a back-up catcher. More importantly, this back-loaded deal would enable the fiscally-crippled Mets to afford their star player–which would be ideal for their should-be fruitful 2014 season.

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Tags: Ben Berkon Jason Bay Johan Santana Jose Reyes Jose Reyes 2012 Jose Reyes 2013 Jose Reyes 2014 Jose Reyes Back Loaded Contract Jose Reyes Back Loaded Deal Mets New York New York Mets Reyes Reyes 2012 Reyes 2013 Reyes 2014 Reyes Back Loaded Contract Reyes Back Loaded Deal Rising Apple

  • crazycarl

    Not gonna happen, and I don’t think anyone wants a backloaded contract for Reyes even if that was the only way to bring him back. Heavily backloaded contracts are the exact reason for the Met’s problems right now. Omar Minaya gave out many large contracts (some of which were backloaded, Bay, Wright, Santana) to veteran players who were in decline. If we were to structure a contract like that for Reyes we would have the payroll flexibility right now when the team is still not particularly close to contention, and then in 2014 when we should have a boost from some of our younger players we will have another gigantic salary to pay for a player in decline. Not to mention that Bay’s contract has a KRod-like vesting option so there is no certainty that that money will be off the books in 2014.

    These $100M backloaded contracts are never a good idea for any team, and for the Mets in particular they are a cycle that has to stop or this team will never be able to dig itself out of the hole it is in. I really want Reyes back as much as anyone else does, but not if its going to hurt the team in the future when we could have a shot to be relevant again.

  • risingapple

    I agree in principle that back-loaded contracts are a bad idea, however, there is still good reason here to offer it. The Mets need Reyes very badly–particularly in 2014. There is simply no similar player available via trade nor will there be via free agency in the next whatever years. The Mets could always sign a starting pitcher, power-hitting outfielder, or closer, but a dynamic shortstop like Reyes doesn’t exactly grow on trees.

    One also has to consider age. Reyes will be 28 years old when he signs his new contract, and if he signs a 5-year deal, he’ll just be 32 when it ends. Both Bay and Santana will be 34 when their contracts expire before 2014. Especially for Santana (since he’s a pitcher), that had “bad idea” written all over it.

    In addition, by 2014, the Mets will have so much salary relief (about $41.5 million), that paying Reyes $28 million won’t be as crippling as it sounds. Santana will be gone, and Bay–if handled properly (cutting or trading by mid-season in 2012)–will be too.

    Again, handing out monstrous contracts to the K-Rod’s of the world isn’t nearly as defensible as re-signing a homegrown player who is and will be the anchor to the team’s lineup, defense, and energy–especially when the Mets are relevant in 2014.

  • crazycarl

    @risingapple first, you’re right that Bay and Santana are not the best comps besides their large salaries. They were healthy when they signed their huge contracts, and starting their decline shortly after. Reyes is still in his peak for the first couple of years in his next contract, but you still don’t know what kind of production you will get out of him due to injury issues.

    That is irrellevant however to paying one player $28M per year in the later years of a contract. For one thing I disagree with your number for salary relief in 2014. That is a number you are trying to guess way too far in advance and I would guess it will look much smaller than that after another year or two. There are a ton of players who will be entering arbitration for us in the next two years, and I would expect a couple of those players would be offered contracts to buy out those years (Davis, Niese, Murphy, Duda) Add in Bay’s vesting option if he rebounds and we can’t simply bench him or trade him for salary relief and you no longer have that $41.5M. Plus who knows if the team actually makes any money in the next year or two. With the Wilpon’s financial problems (stadium and MLB loans are the main problem, the Madoff case is not a problem until they settle or lose in court) the payroll may not break $100M for the next few years.

  • crazycarl

    Paying one player $28M per season is simply not a good idea and it is the hallmark of the Minaya era. You can not have a winning team when you pay one player that much money because you could be paying four or five other average to above average players to give your team depth. That way when your Jose Reyes or your Johan Santana’s or your David Wrights get injured or are not playing like the superstars they are payed to be you don’t have a team full of minimum wage scrubs trying to pick up the slack. Instead of a bench of Willie Harris’ and minor league bums you could have a bench of Angel Pagans and Jerry Hairston Jrs, players who can contribute if the team is doing well or who can be traded if the team is doing crummy.

    That’s another thing you can’t really trade anyone on a team where your good players are making that much money. There are just way too many risks and not enough upside to any $100M contract much less one that is heavily backloaded. I mean c’mon one player making $28M!!! Isn’t Santana enough of a lesson learned?