Sandy Alderson has stated that next season’s Mets payroll will pretty much be the same as 2012 — roughly $100 million, give or take (mostly take) a few million. With Johan Santana and Jason Bay eating up about half of that, it will be very hard for Alderson to greatly improve the team, unless he gets creative. And as we have seen in the past, creativity is not Alderson’s strong suit.
So we are likely to see a very similar team in 2013 that took the field this past season. This is not good considering the Mets need two new outfielders, at least one new catcher and several new relievers in order to be better. Let’s take a look at the possible Mets payroll and see if improvements can be made:
Johan Santana: $25,500,000 (actual)
R.A. Dickey: $5,000,000 (actual)
Jonathon Niese: $3,050,000 (actual)
Dillon Gee: $750,000 (estimate)
Matt Harvey: $500,000 (estimate)
Frank Francisco: $6,500,000 (actual)
Bobby Parnell: $1,000,000 (estimate)
Josh Edgin: $500,000 (estimate)
Robert Carson: $500,000 (estimate)
3 relievers: $2,000,000 (estimate)
Kelly Shoppach: $1,500,000 (estimate)
Josh Thole: $1,000,000 (estimate)
Ike Davis: $2,000,000 (estimate)
Daniel Murphy: $2,000,000 (estimate)
Ruben Tejada: $750,000 (estimate)
David Wright: $16,000,000 (actual)
Jordany Valdespin: $500,000 (estimate)
Justin Turner: $750,000 (estimate)
Jason Bay: $18,125,000 (actual)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis: $500,000 (estimate)
Lucas Duda: $750,000 (estimate)
1 starter: $10,000,000 (estimate)
1 backup: $500,000 (estimate)
The actual salaries for the six players signed for 2013 add up to $74,175,000 (thanks Cots Baseball Contracts). That gives Alderson around $25 million with which to work to add the 19 necessary players to fill out a roster.
I have estimated that signing the players still under Mets control will cost around $12,500,000, bringing the total to $86,675,000. Assuming the Mets payroll would be between $95 million and $100 million, that means Alderson has around $12 million with which to play.
I think the above four relievers have almost guaranteed jobs with the Mets in 2013, so three more are needed. After last year’s bullpen spending debacle, I think Alderson will go for low cost alternatives — maybe one $1 million veteran and two pitchers already in the Mets system who will cost $500,000 each.
That leaves around $10 million for a much-needed new starting outfielder. At that salary level Alderson can get someone who is actually very good; a power hitter who can fill a gaping hole in the lineup. Such a hitter can help turn the lineup around, and if the pitching holds up, perhaps the Mets can be competitive. Yes, Mets fans are very optimistic in the winter.
This would put the Mets payroll at $98,675,000, certainly within Alderson’s budget.
I have gone on record that I would go the creative route — trading R.A. Dickey, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and either Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia to really make over the team. I doubt Alderson will do that, but within his conservative framework there is still room to add an impact player. Let’s see if he is capable of pulling it off.