July 10 – Co-general manager John Ricco says the Mets plan to contend in 2019.
July 13 – Jon Heyman of FanCred reports that the Mets are in “excellent financial health,” thanks to their partnership with SNY and “other endeavors.”
July 20 – Ricco addresses the media and said the organization would be willing to eat money in trades in order to receive a better return.
July 21 – The Mets trade closer Jeurys Familia to the Oakland Athletics, 10 days prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, in exchange for third base prospect Will Toffey, 26-year-old right-hander Bobby Wahl and $1 million in international bonus pool money.
Oakland absorbs the remaining $3 million of Familia’s contract.
July 25 – It is revealed that the Mets have an insurance policy on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who would then likely miss the following eight to 10 months to remove calcification in both of his heels.
Ricco, when asked if that money saved would be recirculated back into the team, said that they had not yet revised their “baseball operations plan.”
The Mets also recoup 75 percent of David Wright‘s contract via insurance. Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon said back in January that he considers Wright’s entire contract part of the payroll, and the team does not reinvest money saved via insurance into baseball operations.
Philadelphia absorbed the remaining money left on Cabrera’s contract.
So, in the span of two weeks, we learned that the Mets are now in great financial health for seemingly the first time since the Bernie Madoff scandal in 2008 followed by the stock market collapse, and would finally be willing to spend money again without having to pinch pennies.
But to follow that up, the team did an awful job validating this by trading their top two trade chips away without eating any money.
It doesn’t matter if the trades turn out to be good. For once, it would be nice to see the Mets actually put their money where their mouth is instead of trying to pull the wool over the fans eyes.
That’s really the thing that’s less upsetting, however.
What really made me blow my stack was that the Mets two highest players, Cespedes and Wright, who are slated to make a combined $49 million in 2018, have a majority of their contracts covered by insurance.
Which is great. It’s smart, especially with hefty contracts that could backfire. What’s not right though, is that ownership is counting both those contracts completely against payroll.
So it makes it seem that the Mets payroll is around the $150 million mark, while actually, it’s closer to the $100 million mark.
Take away most of Cespedes and Wright’s contracts, and the Mets would be in the bottom 10 in baseball salary wise. In New York.
A few teams ahead of them in that case? The Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals.
Next season, the Mets have $92 million in guaranteed contracts, including Cespedes and Wright. With players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Michael Conforto among others up for arbitration, let’s tack on an additional $30 million just to be safe.
That leaves the Mets with a $122 million payroll, give or take. Could be more, could be less. I digress.
Cespedes and Wright are going to combine to make $34 million next year, and will both miss a significant amount of time. So with that being said, they are back around that $92 million mark.
This winter has one of the most potent free agent classes in recent memory, and plenty of players that could help the Mets.
Of course we know spending doesn’t always equate to wins. However, in New York, you have to take that risk and spend on the best players available in order to try and compete. This winter, there’s a golden opportunity.
The team is finally in excellent health? Prove it.
If you want to contend in 2019? Prove it.
If not? Then we know, it’s all still about the money.