NEW YORK METS: If Cash Is King, The Mets Are Pawns. The 2013 Payroll Is Slated To Remain The Same.
Let's deal with Adam Rubin's story regarding the Mets 2013 payroll not straying much higher from this season's $90 million dollar figure. The old reliable, yet infamous "baseball source" informed ESPNNewYork of next season's potential parameters on spending.
If we toy with the potential $10 to $15 million dollars (max), the article suggests the Mets will have to spend on acquisitions for next season, the first question we should ask is, should the team spend it on the outfield, or the bullpen? It is very unlikely Sandy Alderson will be able to address both. As the Mets at least have some questionable, along with some hopeful, in-house options to temporarily fill slots in the outfield with, it is more likely Sandy will take his allowance and concentrate on the bullpen.
With that kind of money, the Mets might be able to squeeze one somewhat good reliever, and maybe a second live body for the bullpen, in moves very similar to the discount shopping Sandy went on last season by buying two arms, and trading for another. In the outfield, if the Mets want a player who'll have a relatively high-end impact, it may cost them most of their stack, save a few bucks left over for a bench player. If $10 to $15 million is indeed what they are realistically working with, then the Mets options are clearly limited.
If your thinking is, the Mets are still a rebuilding team, then the dollar figure shouldn't be too concerning. The Mets are still not in a position to bring in high end free agents until they figure out which players of this current crop, will be the ones the organization ultimately decides to build around. Pitching prospects withstanding, and maybe save two players, (i.e. Ruben Tejada, and Ike Davis) that list of players is far from certain. What we thought of some players back in May, we may not necessarily be thinking at present. So organizational money woes withstanding, the team has no business spending big bucks anyway. Unwise spending is partly to blame for the team's current condition in the first place.
With spending money clearly not high on the list of things to do, it stands to reason the Mets continue to realize the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana are impediments to any real roster maneuvering or improvement. As Adam Ruben's article points out, between the two players, that's $50 millions dollars right there. And that simply will not due. It wasn't too long ago, the Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers found themselves in similar situations involving onerous contracts and immovable players as a result. The Colorado Rockies ate a ridiculous portion of Mike Hampton's contract just to free themselves of him. The Texas Rangers did likewise to rid themselves of Alex Rodriguez. In both cases, by eating substantial amounts of money, they actually saved money, and regained exponential amounts of operational flexibility. Within a short time of jettisoning both players and wisely utilizing their flexibility, both teams, respectively, worked their way into the World Series.
I'm not saying it would be feasible in the Mets situation to eat both contracts. Clearly, there is still hope to recoup value out of Johan Santana. But retiring the debt on Jason Bay should seriously be considered this off-season.
With no real money coming off next year's payroll to speak of, and the Mets alleged operating parameters staying relatively the same, I'm also compelled to read between the lines and ponder whether the Mets have any intention of extending David Wright over the winter. As I have always maintained, the Wilpons should already know whether or not they will be committing long term to David Wright. If all the club does is pick up next season's option, how telling will that be?
The owners are clearly still operating under dire, however stabilized, financial constraints which were well expected to bleed into the 2013 season. Prepared or not, this news still adds to a fan base's dismay, and leaves them a little lacking in the excitement department, knowing next season is indeed set-up to play out much the same way this season has.