You Can Only Sell The Future For So Long

An article by posted on October 3, 2013

Here’s the latest accounting on the Mets payroll, according to the man who’s supposed to be holding all the cards. Sandy Alderson said that the Mets payroll for this past season ended up around $87-88 million. He asserts that the Mets have approximately $40 million coming off the books this winter, and they have just $25 million committed next season to David Wright and Jon Niese.

Based on MLBTR estimates, the Mets will be adding another $24.1 million to the $25 million they already have in guaranteed commitments for a total of $49.1 million for 13 players.

mets arbitration

Add in another $6 million dollars for non-free agents like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Scott Rice, Juan Lagares, Vic Black, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Matt den Dekker and Josh Satin.

That puts the Mets at about $55 million in payroll before they make one addition to the team. So what’s the plan? I mean realistically, how much will the Mets increase payroll?

Sandy said that he could offer a free agent a $100-million contract this offseason if he wanted to, but in the same breath he contradicted himself.

“Would it be the right player? And would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what’s left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question,” Alderson said

So again, realistically, what’s the plan?

Some fans say it’s too early to speculate on what the Mets may or may not do, but I beg to differ. It is very relevant, otherwise the Mets brass wouldn’t have had a a 2-hour media get together at Citi Field to discuss just that, before locking themselves down in PSL to crunch even more numbers and debate which players will stay and which will go.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York wrote that team insiders have admitted the Mets are talking about a Boston Red Sox offseason model. He said that’s code for not signing any players to big free-agent contracts. So lets dismiss the possibilities that the Mets will be going after Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury – both of whom will get more than the $90 million the San Francisco Giants gave Hunter Pence.

After completing their fifth straight losing season in 2013 with a 74-88 record, the Mets are tied with the Houston Astros for the longest active sub-.500 streak in Major League Baseball.

Winning costs money, but put a winning product on the field and it will also generate money through increased ratings and attendance. The most money this team ever made in a five year period occurred between 2005-2009 which included just one post season appearance, two collapses and a season of historic injuries in which most experts pegged the Mets to win it all.

That said, Alderson said it’s conceivable the team would have a lower payroll next season despite his long laundry list of more needs than at any time during his stewardship.

“The bottom line is yes, it’s conceivable we won’t sign a player,” Alderson said. “But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I’m hopeful we’ll get some things done.”

“It’s great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players’ deals that don’t work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before,” Alderson said.

All year long I’ve tried to tell you not to buy into all this talk that this offseason was the one where the Mets were finally going to spend and bring home a winner in 2014.

Now your general manager is saying the same thing even though it was him who kept saying he would have all the resources he would need to spend this offseason a message he’s been touting for almost three years.

“We would have to outperform our payroll, so we can increase attendance and increase payroll consistently over time. Overall, I agree that a Met payroll should be near the highest, but I think we will get on a progression toward something.”

“The lowered payroll is not because of ownership financial problems. It is because they have been burned by the big, long contacts, so we are not prepared to go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which I can’t argue with.”

Clearly, the Mets are at rock bottom.

You can only sell the future for so long until it starts to lose its appeal. It’s now critical for Sandy Alderson to deliver a winner.

Nobody is saying to spend for the sake of spending – but after three years of Alderson the Mets have just one quality bat on the roster in David Wright – and he was inherited from the previous administration –  and that’s simply not good enough.

Fans are tuning the Mets out and most of them won’t tune back in until things turn around. Don’t take my word for it, just look at attendance… Look at declining viewership ratings… Look at their 27 year old flagship radio station who kicked them out in the cold and called the franchise a loser…

Yes, you gotta believe… But you also gotta be realistic… This team is running on fumes… They are on life support…

About the Author ()

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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