John B. asks…
Do you really believe the Mets will spend this offseason or that they will contend in 2014?
Joe D. replies…
In a word, yes. I do believe they will spend as they do have many areas they need to address, and they are fresh out of All Star caliber players to trade as well as top performing players like a Marlon Byrd. They will add many players through free agency.
Alderson insisted he has money to spend in free agency during a radio interview this weekend with ESPN. He said he will seek improvements in that market throughout the winter. He also said he is intent on adding a veteran starter regardless of the news on Matt Harvey. In fact, he said he was already planning on pursuing a veteran starter before Harvey was injured and that the only thing that will change now is whether if it’s a number five type starter or a number one or two type.
Despite, what’s been said or reported, I’m not convinced that the Mets will go into next season with a payroll that exceeds $90 million dollars. I just don’t see it.
For three straight offseasons, none of the payroll that was cleared has been reinvested into the team and that’s largely why we’ve seen declining win totals during that span on the major league level. With the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts coming off the books, a great deal of that money will go toward raises for current players.
David Wright‘s salary nearly doubles going from $11 million to $ 20 million. Jon Niese also gets a nice boost to $5.5 million. There are also some significant increases expected by players who are due arbitration and chief among them are Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy, to name a few. Many of them are coming off solid seasons and will get hefty awards or settlements.
The last time he was asked, Sandy Alderson said he had not been given a payroll budget for the 2014 season so even he doesn’t know at this point what his limitations are and how much he has to spend.
One reader brought up an excellent point this weekend and in the comment threads. Although we haven’t heard anything official yet, it’s presumed that the Mets will likely announce that the team had estimated losses of nearly $20 million dollars this season. It’s not bad after two straight seasons of $50 million losses, but it’s still an indication that the hemorrhaging hasn’t stopped. So why would the banks and lenders whom the Mets owners owe so much to, allow the team to take that approximate $45 million dollar windfall from the Bay/Santana contracts and reinvest it back into the team?
Why do you think the money from Beltran, Rodriguez, Reyes, Castillo and Perez was never invested?
When you’re in debt up to your knees like the Wilpons are, those lenders don’t care about the product on the field only that the team stops losing money which puts their loans and investments in great jeopardy. You also have all those investors and owners they brought on when they sold all those shares in the team. They haven’t seen a dime yet on their huge outlays and they too will have a say.
So… do I think they will spend?
Yes, but only as much as it would take to field a somewhat respectable 25-man roster. And much of that money, which I suspect will be between $15-$20 million in total, wont be nearly enough to go after any of the top names in free agency.
As to whether or not they will contend, consider that they probably lost their ace in Matt Harvey, they have questions at first base, shortstop, and two outfield positions. Questions also remain in the bullpen and the bottom of the rotation, and David Wright is another year older. Plus it looks like Travis d’Arnaud, who the team is committed to, may take at least 400-500 at-bats until he’s where this team expects him to be offensively. That was the number being suggested back when he was still injured, and so far it looks like they were right. There’s a great deal to overcome for this team, but there’s no accounting for luck which always comes into play.
As a die-hard Met fan I go into every Spring Training believing we will contend for a postseason spot regardless of how good or bad the team looks on paper.
It oftentimes leads to disappointment, but I love the team and I’ve always taken Tug’s mantra (Ya Gotta Believe) to heart. There’s still a lot that needs fixing on this team – more now than three years ago – so while my brain says no, they won’t contend, my heart says otherwise.