Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes today, that while the Mets have operated like a typical big-market team for years, their payroll is shrinking to a degree that is almost unprecedented within the industry, at least in this millennium.
General manager Sandy Alderson said recently that he expects the payroll for 2012 to come in at around $100 million and could even be slightly less than that. A $100 million payroll would represent a $43 million cut from the Mets’ Opening Day payroll in 2011. Since 2000, only two other teams have cut payroll by a higher amount from one year to the next, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, an online clearinghouse for player-salary data.
Between 2003 and 2004, the Texas Rangers lowered their payroll from $103 million to $55 million, a $48 million cut. And between 2005 and 2006, the Florida Marlins slashed their payroll from $60 million to $15 million, a $45 million decrease.
Of course in 2004 the Texas Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees which explains most of their reduction, plus they may have already known they were spiraling toward bankruptcy. The Marlins were going through one of their usual boom or busts transitional seasons and was in complete tear-down and rebuild mode.
You could argue that the Mets might be confronting both of those issues right now.
Actually, Costa used a Mets payroll figure of $100 million to determine the Mets have cut the third most payroll. But if the Mets come in at $94 million or lower, they will have shed the most payroll from one season to another than any MLB team ever. There’s a better than 50% possibility that could happen.
Costa also adds that while the Mets will still likely rank among the top half of all teams in player salaries in 2012, such a significant payroll reduction doesn’t bode well for them.