More Money In 2012? What Money?

Adam Rubin grabbed an interesting quote from Mets COO Jeff Wilpon at a Mets-FDNY event today at beautiful, tropical Randall’s Island.

“I don’t think they realize the payroll is up in the $145 million or better range,” Wilpon said about casual observers. “I don’t think people realize that. Unfortunately, we were somewhat hamstrung by what had happened before. Sandy Alderson’s plan was to go and deal with it this year and make sure we have tremendous flexibility next year.”

Wilpon also applauded the front office’s performance and treated everyone to pina coladas and grilled mahi mahi afterward.

“I think Sandy and his staff have put together the best team we can to get on the field, and now it’s time to get out there and prove that we’re better than people think,”

Okay, let me get serious now…

Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash. ~ Pink Floyd

It’s funny that Wilpon never mentioned this problem in which “we were hamstrung before” until now. In fact the day after the season ended, they refuted those claims saying that the “SNY network had record earnings” and that “the Madoff betrayal did not effect how we run the Mets”.

We all knew it was a problem and I’m glad they indirectly acknowledged it a little bit today.

That said, by the time all is said and done, we will once again be in the top five of payroll among all 30 MLB teams. So everyone please stop complaining that the Mets don’t spend or that they don’t spend enough, believe me, they spend plenty.

Here is my big concern and where I think the Mets are heading into trouble. There is this budding story that the Mets will have $60 million dollars to spend on free agents next season, but that whole idea is very flawed on so many levels.

Follow along with me please.

Lets take that $60 million (assuming that number is accurate) and first deduct raises for David Wright and Johan Santana which brings us down to $57 million. If we end up re-signing Jose Reyes you can expect him to earn at least $7 million dollars more annually in 2012. So far we haven’t signed any new players and $10 million has just vanished.

What happens if the $18 million dollar option on Francisco Rodriguez vests? The Mets can’t just stop using K-Rod in save opportunities to prevent it from vesting, it’s against the rules of the CBA and a grievance will cause the Mets to pay the $18 million dollars anyway, so stop ignoring the elephant in the corner.

So what do we have now, $32 million?

What about the 80% of our starting rotation who all become free agents or are expected to quadruple their salaries? I’m talking Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Chris Young and Chris Capuano. Pick any two names from that group and deduct $15-$20 million from our flexibility. (and even more if you want a third player from that group)

We’re down to $12 million.

Now go find a new center fielder (or right fielder), a backup catcher, two starting pitchers, a second baseman, three relievers, a whole new bench, and then get back to me.