I got a bit of a reaction yesterday after mentioning that despite the acquisitions of outfielders Chris Young and Curtis Granderson, and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, the Mets are still sitting at about $82 million in payroll, and about $10 million less than last season.
It seems like the Mets are looking to unload Ike Davis and his near $4 million contract before they do any additional moves – almost as if they are hog-tied. Ridding themselves of Davis would instantly put the Mets payroll at about $78 million. You would have to assume that they would still add another ten million in one or more acquisitions, but the point is that payroll will likely not exceed $90 million which would rank the Mets somewhere around 23-24 in payroll ranking among all 30 MLB teams.
You don’t normally see a New York market team in any sport sitting near the bottom of their league in spending, but these are the Mets and it is what it is.
While other teams have spent significantly and increased their payrolls generously this offseason, courtesy of a new MLB TV deal that gave every team about a $30 million windfall, the Mets are barely keeping pace with last year’s payroll budget – a budget many thought was too low in the first place.
This is not to say that the Mets need to spend their way out of a five-year losing streak, but only to point out where the Mets stand as compared to all the other teams in the league.
It’s a little disconcerting when small-market teams like Minnesota, Milwaukee, Seattle and Cincinnati are the teams we’re now looking up to as far as spending goes.
On the flip side, teams like Tampa Bay and Oakland have thrived while sitting at the bottom of the payroll rankings, but who remembers what Paul DePodesta said when the front office was first introduced to the New York Media? “Moneyball with money.”
That never happened.
The Mets will pay Colon, Granderson and Young $31.25 million in 2014. If you were to take the Mets at their word when they said the Bay/Santana money would be reinvested, they still have about $19 million to go. But I doubt that happens.
You may remember back in November, when Sandy Alderson floated the term “payroll concentration” when justifying why he wouldn’t sign another $100 million player. He said that adding a second player like that to go with David Wright ($138 million) would hurt the Mets calling it a “historical fact.”
That’s great and all, but sooner or later Wright is going to begin his decline. The Mets need to put together a team that can win while we’re still getting All-Star level production out of him. If we’re lucky we have a -3-4 year window. The time to strike is now.
Ownership keeps talking a big game about increased spending and flexibility this offseason, but the facts scream something else entirely.
Fred and Jeff Wilpon can’t keep half-assing things by allowing Sandy to fix one part of the team and not the other. I’m not the biggest Sandy Alderson fan in the world, but I’m smart enough to know that his hands are still somewhat tied. And this time you can’t blame the bloated contracts because they are all now gone.
The only people to blame for not having enough money to transform this team into a contender are the people in the owners’ box.
We waited five long years for them to get their financial house in order. But now it’s time for them to pay us back for sticking with this team which has been not worth the price of admission.
Break out the cash or get the hell out of dodge.