In December 2011 while Sandy Alderson was still claiming the Mets payroll would be around $100 million, he made a sly little statement that indicated the actual payroll would be far lower. No one in the media bothered to do the math, except for me, and I wrote that the payroll would be $90 million, or perhaps lower. It turned out the payroll was $94 million.

Well, your old pal is still the only one on the case, interpreting the latest Alderson statement to mean the 2013 payroll, promised to be around $100 million yet again, could be even lower than 2012.

On Tuesday Alderson said, “We’re not going to spend the money in mid-December just because we have it. We may spend it in January. We may spend it at some other time. We may not spend it.”

He also said, “I would expect the roster will look similar to the way it did at the end of last year.”

So combining the sentiments that the Mets may not spend money and that the roster will look similar to last season, I did a little figuring and came up with a roster with expected salaries:

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)

Josh Thole: $1,000,000 (estimate)

Backup/platoon catcher: $1,000,000 (estimate)

Ike Davis: $2,000,000 (estimate)

Daniel Murphy: $2,000,000 (estimate)

Ruben Tejada: $750,000 (estimate)

David Wright: $11,000,000 (actual)

Jordany Valdespin: $500,000 (estimate)

Justin Turner: $750,000 (estimate)

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: $500,000 (estimate)

Lucas Duda: $750,000 (estimate)

Mike Baxter: $500,000 (estimate)

2 backups/platoon outfielders: $2,000,000 (estimate)

Jason Bay: $18,125,000 (actual)

So the actual salaries for the six players signed (including the released Bay) add up to $69,175,000 (thanks Cots Baseball Contracts). And that doesn’t include the $3 million Wright is deferring and the undisclosed amount that is deferred under Bay’s agreement.

The estimated salaries for the rest of the team comes to $17,000,000, for a grand total of $86,175,000.

Now, maybe Alderson will sign a better catcher for a couple of million, or an outfielder for $5 million or so, or a couple of veteran relievers for $5 million and push the payroll closer to $100 million.

But based on Alderson’s own statements and his lack of truth telling abilities, I don’t think that will happen. I say the Mets will have a lower payroll in 2013 than in 2012, possibly even lower than $90 million. Remember where you heard it first.