Alderson Will Finally Get His Payroll Flexibility In 2012, So Now What?

An article by posted on July 22, 2011

With the impending trade of Carlos Beltran, and the departure of K-Rod as well, the Mets are well on their way to securing that payroll flexibility that was so sorely lacking last offseason.

The savings in payroll however, may still not be enough to keep Jose Reyes at the end of the season. Just because they have the cash, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden the front office is going to simply hand Jose Reyes the 6-7 year mega-deal he will probably get from a half-dozen or so teams come November. Nobody believes the Mets will offer Reyes more than a five year deal, and at least 3-4 teams will probably offer him a seven-year deal. Remember the Mets didn’t just hire a GM with Sandy Alderson, they hired his philosophy as well.

In 2011, the Mets payroll commitments totaled a whopping $143 million dollars according to Cot’s Contracts. That number will be slashed to $67 million dollars for the 2012 season.

The only guaranteed payroll commitments the Mets have going into the new season will be:

  • Johan Santana – $24,000,000
  • Jason Bay – $18,130,000
  • David Wright – $15,250,000
  • R.A. Dickey – $4,750,000
  • D. J. Carrasco – $1,200,000

The Mets will also have four players who will go into arbitration and they include Mike Pelfrey, who will seek a hefty increase above the $3.9MM he is earning this season. Pelfrey could possibly be non-tendered rather than the Mets having to risk paying him in upwards of $8 million dollars. Angel Pagan will also be due a considerable increase from the $3.5 million he is currently making. Taylor Buchholz (remember him?) and Bobby Parnell both enter their first year of arbitration. All told, if the Mets keep all four of them, they will easily add about $14 million in payroll, bringing the total up to $82 million dollars.

Add in another $5-6 million for Ike Davis, Justin Turner, Josh Thole, Lucas Duda?, Jason Pridie? Pedro Beato, and a couple of other minimum wage type players. 

So the Mets will probably have about $87-88 million dollars in set payroll barring any significant trades. That represents about $56 million dollars in NEW payroll flexibility compared to this year. But what does that mean?

If the goal is to keep it at $100 million or less as some have reported, that leaves about $12 million dollars in spending money, or a little more than what Alderson had last December. Not only will that not be enough to re-sign Jose Reyes, but I wonder how it will replace our cleanup hitter and right fielder Carlos Beltran. Is a combination of Lucas Duda, Jason Pridie and Nick Evans the master plan?

Even if you were to assume that $125 million is the magic number (and thats a big if), it still makes you wonder how all of this is going to work and if it will put a product on the field that is better than the one from Opening Day in 2011.

I don’t see any way a team, any team, can overcome the losses of so many key players in one season. Plus in addition to this headache, is the realization that David Wright will enter the final year of his contract next season. Yes, Wright has a whopping $16 million dollar option for 2013, but as was the case with some of his other teammates, will the Mets trade him too in order to avoid paying him that kind of “superstar” money when their own owner said he wasn’t one? 

As the title to this post says, Sandy Alderson will finally get that payroll flexibility everyone has been crying about, but I still don’t see any quick-fire solutions to putting a better product on the field in his second year as GM – especially with the losses of Reyes and Beltran. But who knows, maybe he will surprise me.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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