Sandy Alderson said something very disturbing Monday that I hope does not slide under the radar. According to MetsBlog.com, while talking about the payroll and Madoff matters on a conference call with reporters, Alderson slipped this in:
Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we’d like to be on an annual basis.
We all know the Wilpons didn’t want to spend that much this season, that they were hoping to keep the payroll around last year’s $126 million (most of the increase was due to scheduled raises to existing players).
It’s the second part of the statement that alarms me. What does “significantly” mean? Is Alderson saying the Mets want to have a payroll of $130 million? $120 million? $100 million? This should be of great concern to fans because I don’t think they can compete with the Phillies and Braves if the payroll is $100 million. Hell, they might even have a hard time competing with the Nationals, whose checkbook has suddenly sprung open.
The Wilpons have long had a “cheap” label attached to their foreheads — unfairly, in my opinion. They spent money, just not well. But if the Mets go with a $100 million yearly payroll, that label will be warranted. And given the Wilpons recent announcement that they are looking for “strategic partners,” it wouldn’t be a shocker if payroll was cut dramatically.