Projecting The New 2010 Roster
After today’s move, the M’s plan for the next year’s team, and how they’ll continue making upgrades this winter, comes into a bit clearer view. Here’s the general overview of what the team has in house for next year as of now.
Catcher: Rob Johnson, Kenji Johjima, Adam Moore
First Base: Mike Carp, Chris Shelton
Second Base: Jose Lopez
Shortstop: Jack Wilson
Third Base: Matt Tuiasosopo, Jack Hannahan
Left Field: Michael Saunders, Ryan Langerhans
Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez
Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki
Designated Hitter: Brad Nelson
Johjima’s probably going away (either back to Japan or traded, with the team basically assuming the rest of his salary), so you can mentally cross him off the list. The middle infield is probably set, while you’d expect that the team will displace one of the kids at the corners with a veteran. I’d expect Branyan back next year, so Carp/Shelton would share DH and Nelson would keep hanging out in Tacoma. Whether the the M’s will hand third over to Tui and Hannahan probably depends on how much Beltre gets offered as a free agent.
Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Ian Snell, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Brandon Morrow, Jason Vargas, Carlos Silva, Garrett Olson, Nick Hill
Bullpen: David Aardsma, Mark Lowe, Shawn Kelley, Sean White, Chris Jakubauskas, Robert Manuel, Josh Fields, Phillippe Aumont, losers of the rotation competition.
The rotation got a necessary arm for next year today in Snell, who could give the team the mid-rotation starter they were lacking before today’s trade. The flyball lefties, Morrow, and Silva could fight to fill out the back of the rotation, while Hill could force his way into the discussion if he has a strong spring.
All told, the M’s currently have about $55 million in committed multi-year contract salaries for 2010, while the arbitration eligible gang (Felix, Gutierrez, Aardsma, Lowe) should command about $15 million between them, and the league minimum guys on the roster would push the total payroll to about $78 million. If the organization maintains a payroll of around $95 million for 2010, then Jack would have about $17 million to spend this winter – and that’s before he brings back any of the Beltre/Branyan/Bedard/Washburn gang.
With that kind of money available, the team probably can only afford to offer arbitration to one of Beltre/Bedard (bet on Beltre in that case), and bringing back either would limit the amount of money they could offer Branyan to ~$6 or $7 million for 2010.
Or, to put this another way, take the above roster, put Beltre and Branyan back on it in place of Nelson/Tui, and you’re probably maxed out in payroll.
This is the downside of today’s trade. The M’s picked up a shortstop and a starting pitcher, but it cost them $12.5 million out of the 2010 payroll. They chopped up about 30% of their estimated winter budget in today’s deal. That’s a bit of a blow, and means that the team won’t be able to retain all the guys on the current roster that it might want to.
It’s nice to have a league average shortstop and a starter with upside. The team needed both. I just hope that everyone realizes that part of the cost of acquiring these two is that we’re now significantly less likely to upgrade 3B/1B/DH/SP this winter, at least through free agency. We know Jack’s good at finding undervalued talent in trade, which is good, because he’s going to have to do it again this winter.