For months now, I’ve been saying I’d be shocked if the Mets have more than an $85 million payroll in 2014. And while some reports have had the Mets as low as $90 million – this morning there was an $85 million sighting on ESPN New York.
“A Mets source recently told ESPNNewYork.com that the team’s 2014 payroll is expected to be in the $85-90 million range.”
For those of you in suspense, an $85 million payroll would represent more slashing not more spending.
It’s still early in the offseason, but so far since the season ended on September 30th there’s been little evidence to suggest the Mets are ready to spend as they would have you believe. Most of the chatter has been about “phone calls” and “interest”, but not much else. Nothing concrete.
With no offers on the table according to Sandy Alderson, those of you who thought the Mets would burst out of the gate with some sense of urgency this offseason, think again. Five straight losing seasons and still the same round-about, waiting for the market to develop approach.
- Sandy Alderson has already backed down on signing any $100 million players which would exclude players such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo.
- J.P. Ricciardi said the Mets may “may not be in” on any free agents that requires sacrificing a draft pick. “I don’t know if we’ll be that involved with those type of guys. Like I said, it has to be the right guy for us to even do one, so I can’t really sit here and tell you that we’re probably thinking about doing two.” That eliminates players like Stephen Drew, Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz.
- Alderson also validated my contention that they wouldn’t bring in any player that would make as much as David Wright‘s $17 million average annual salary. He coined a new phrase you all should get used to hearing, “payroll concentration.” In other words, and to quote what I said back in October, the Mets won’t concentrate over a third of their “annual” payroll on two players. That would seem to eliminate players like Jhonny Peralta. And since downplaying their meeting with him in Orlando, all the buzz on Peralta has been with 5-6 other teams not names the Mets.
- When pressed for how much the Mets could expect to spend this offseason during an appearance on ESPN, all Sandy Alderson would say is that it would be more than the $5 million he spent last offseason. Not exactly the $30-40 million he had no problem boasting about all through August and September. Clearly something has changed.
Now I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with anything the Mets have said here. I’m only pointing out that these rumblings from the Mets do not bode well for adding any significant pieces via free agency. As soon as other teams join the bidding on anyone they are interested in, they back down like a scared turtle.
Sandy was right about one thing when he commented on all the players who rejected their qualifying offers during the GM Meetings, “That ought to tell you a little bit about their expectations,” he said.
Yep, Sandy is reading the tea leaves correctly.
And all of you should read the tea leaves on what the Mets are saying over the last six days.
This is not about it being too early, or players like Marlon Byrd or LaTroy Hawkins not being worth it. This is about understanding the message that the Mets are currently conveying. Messages that have come from the team’s chief operating officer, the general manager, and the assistant general manager. Messages that are neither speculative or vague. Messages that are crystal clear.