Blog Entry

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Posted on: September 6, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 1:16 pm

By Evan Brunell

The New York Mets plan to pare payroll significantly next season, taking a $140-million team and slashing it down to at least $110 million, if not under $100 million.

The Mets aren't ready to commit to an overall payroll plan for 2012 because a lot of the decision hinges both on 2012 ticket prices and the fate of Jose Reyes. The team has yet to determine next year's ticket prices, which will directly influence the team's payroll budget. Plus, New York could choose to rebuild next year if Reyes departs, which would set the team up better for future success even if a year's pain would be needed, a source tells the New York Post's Joel Sherman for the first time on the record or on background.

Projected 2012 Mets
C Josh Thole
1B Ike Davis
2B Ruben Tejada
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes?
LF Jason Bay
CF Angel Pagan?
RF Lucas Duda
SP1 R.A. Dickey
SP2 Johan Santana
SP3 Mike Pelfrey?
SP4 Jon Niese
SP5 Dillon Gee?
CL Bobby Parnell
Helping matters is that the lineup and rotation for next season is pretty much ready to go, sans possible question marks at short and in center field, as well as the rotation, where the club could opt to non-tender Mike Pelfrey. If the team brought Reyes back, they would make more of a push to contend but still wouldn't go past $110 million in payroll, and that essentially guarantees the team next season looking much like this year's, as you can see from the table to your right. The projected lineup and rotation next season could be just like this year's, with Johan Santana added after a year-long rehab.

Why minimal change?

To start, the Mets don't have much choice. There are five players signed for 2012 at $60.45 million. Adding Reyes around $20 million annually would push the total cost to $80.45 million, leaving just $30 million to spread out among 19 other players. That's not a lot of flexibility, which would demand the Mets retain many of their players, especially those who have yet to hit free agency and can still be controlled at lower dollars.

But don't forget -- the Phillies aren't going anywhere, the Braves are a strong team and the Nationals are starting to worry many in the game. That's a lot of teams to get through to make the postseason, and the Mets aren't dripping with enough talent to make it happen. They could be better off punting 2012 -- if Reyes doesn't return... or even if he does -- to get one year closer to the end of Santana and Jason Bay's contracts, while bringing along their top prospects for another year. With Jenrry Meija undergoing the knife for Tommy John surgery and Zach Wheeler along with Matt Harvey still a year or two out, it may be the prudent move to load up for 2013... especially given the elite free-agent class that currently projects to hit the market. Sherman cites Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain as potential free agents.

While the Mets may be -- are -- paring payroll so the Wilpons can save money in light of the Bernie Madoff case, they're also slashing payroll because there just isn't much that can be done. Treating 2012 as a rebuilding year to evaluate the team may be the most prudent course of action, Reyes or no Reyes. And if there's one thing about GM Sandy Alderson we know, it's that he's smart and if the best course of action -- even in a major media market like New York -- is to wait another year for the best chance at long-term success, he will do it.

And frankly, if you look at the team, it's the right move. The Mets should do what they can to bring back Reyes, but any retention of Reyes would have to be with the idea that the contract would pay far more dividends in 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Lip service would be paid toward making the postseason next year with Reyes, of course, but it wouldn't go beyond that unless New York surprises and stays in contention deep into July.

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Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:29 am

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Come people first thing is fixing the ways of the people. Dam liberals are ruining everything and my Mets have been the victim of the Democrats for to long. It is so depressing watching over and over again the Braves and Philly succede, all republicans. Bieng a New yorker but gone for awile due to my military obligation i am so confused by how New yorkers including some of my family have lost touch with common sense. Rudy would be the next great Pres but that cannot help with most New Yorkers bieng registered democrats. Change that and we will start seeing the Mets kick but.  Deal with the truth and for those who voted for the great one i hope you like the change

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:48 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Remember when the Mets lied to taxpayers and said a new stadium would supply them the revenues to compete every year for a title.  Taxpayers were fleeced once again.  Other cities should learn from this mess.  Owners should pay for their private businesses with their own money.  Cities are broke and raising taxes to build stadiums should never happen again.  The Mets can't fill a stadium in New York......that is a bigger concern than spending $$$$$ on a team.

Couldn't agree more vingoblue. Mayor Bloomberg is an arse who, at the end of the day, really just wants more money. He constricts our social freedoms with sales taxes (it's basically illegal to smoke a cigarette anywhere in NYC now) and expects the economy to fix itself. Last time I checked, tobacco industry was like Disney or the NFL- entire country's economy falls flat without it. Then he takes our income tax and buys a stadium that messes up David Wright's swing. You know he's currently spending 70 million on a track facility in STATEN ISLAND?? You already have the fastest indoor track in the world in Washington Heights, no one wants to go to SI to run. All he's doing is taking money from private business to increase gov't spending, but thats not a wealthy middle class, that's a wealthy gov't. That's North Korea! I mean, I get that Bloomberg's completely banked, but its our money too, and there's a serious opportunity cost here.

So now because the Mets can't win and sell tickets, we'll be paying even more in taxes going forward. A lot of pressure in this town. No more than 15 mil a year on Reyes.

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:39 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Excellent post, Starblazer.  It's one of the most complete (and accurate) I've seen on any web site regarding the Mets, and it is obvious you know this team as well as any sportswriter.  I agree with most everything you've noted, with the exception of your observation about the Mets' owner.  Fred Wilpon is a gentleman and deeply cares about this team.  Fred's devotion to his son, who might not have been ready to assume the degree of responsibility given him, appears to have been a mistake.  But we all seem to forget that Fred Wilpon was an owner of the Mets when they won the World Series in 1986, and was in charge when they rebuilt and contended again in the late 1990s and early 2000s and several years in the last decade.  I'm not contending that Fred should be absolved of all blame, but I do feel he shouldn't be under the contant attacks I read from blogs and in the media.

Again, this was an insightful post.  Keep up the good work.

Since: Jul 27, 2008
Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:52 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

The pop up menu states:

 Mets could slash payroll by $100 million in 2012

The actual artical states:

 Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Is it to mislead to read or an honest mistake? There is a slight difference between the two. Slashing by $100 million would be a top story, cutting to under $100 million is not. I have found that most people in this country wouldn't know what the word TRUTH is if it was painted on a train and ran them over. SAD! 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:38 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Wouldn't it make sense to dump Jason Bay and David Wright's contracts as well?

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:19 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

And frankly, if you look at the team, it's the right move. The Mets should do what they can to bring back Reyes, but any retention of Reyes would have to be with the idea that the contract would pay far more dividends in 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Lip service would be paid toward making the postseason next year with Reyes, of course, but it wouldn't go beyond that unless New York surprises and stays in contention deep into July.


Duh. Everyone who knows anything about baseball and this organization knows they're playing for 2013, when they expect both Harvey and Wheeler to be in the rotation with Santana, Niese and Gee. By then Corey Vaughn(their top OF prospect) may be playing LF and CF could be manned internally by Den Dekker or Nieuwenhuis. Pagan may get competition in spring training from Nieuwenhuis who may be starting now, if he didn't injure his non-throwing shoulder.

2012 isn't as bleak as this clown Brunell and the renowned Mets hater Joel Sherman portray it. Ike Davis will be ready for spring training(no surgery) , Duda will be in RF, Wright @ 3B and Tejada either @ SS or 2B. Turner is nice utility guy as well. Santana improves their pedestrian rotation and their top pitching prospect, Matt Harvey may very possibly be ready by mid-season to replace a failing starter or an injured one. Matt won an organizational high 13 games, led the organization in strikeouts and will start 2012 @ AAA.

The Mets need to bolster their pen and can do so via trade. Pagan(good 4th OF), Murphy(no real position) and possibly even Pelfrey(if tendered) could be moved in smaller, but shrewd deals. The Mets could even roll the dice with a low-risk, high reward pitcher like Brad Lidge(a free-agent) promising a shot @ closing for one year. That way they can groom a closer from their system(Mejia perhaps) to take over in 2013, if Parnell isn't in their plans. The Mets could also make a run at a pitcher like Soria offering up a good prospect like Valdespin and throwing in a Beato or even Parnell. KC has Aaron Crow and may feel Soria is too rich for their blood.

2012 is not necessarily a "rebuilding" year, but rather more of a transitional one. The Mets will integrate more young players(Harvey, Nieuwenhuis and perhaps Familia) along with established veterans like Davis and Wright. Niese and Gee are nice backend guys and the Mets are hoping their future ace(or at least #2) will be making more than a token appearance. The growth of players like Duda and Thole will also be key. Of course , Reyes' returning is the most important. If he does, this team could hang around the WC all year, especially if they add a 2nd one. If not, they'll battle each and every night. I'll take that over the chokers of 2007 & 2008 who cared more about themselves and late evening plans, than winning. The 2009 and 2010 teams were even worse. Last year's team flat out quit like their manager did. This team cares and plays for each other. That cannot be ignored.

As for 2011, any Mets fan who has watched this team all year wouldn't have the temerity to call them garbage. This team plays hard each and every night, often rallying in games they have no right to. I've watched them rally against  top teams like the Phillies and Brewers down by 6 and 7 runs to tie. The Mets also have one of the best road marks in MLB. They've lost Davis, Wright, Reyes and Murphy(a back-up!) for significant time. Despite that, they've somehow scored runs and have stayed at or near .500 all year. Unlike teams that just mailed it in like the Cubs and Marlins, this team has pride. That's a tribute to the players and their feisty manager who accepted no excuses unlike Manuel and their former enabling GM Omar Minaya. All they had were excuses and "woe is me" comments.

Whether 100 million, 110 million or 120 million, what matters is how they spend the money, not how much they spend. Omar spent 140 million and won 70 games and 79 respectively the last 2 years of his reign of error. He left the Mets in Isiah Thomas shape. The Mets incredibly(despite the Wilpon's incompetence) hired Sandy Alderson whose charge was to be the Mets Donnie Walsh. Sandy doesn't have a cap to deal with, but had some onerous deals. 4 will have expired as of October. Bay's and Santana's are still here, but at least Johan has the ability to really help. He's done a nice job releasing trash like Castillo and Perez then dealing overpaid malcontents like TKO-Rod and Beltran. The latter yielded a possible top pitcher for the undermanned rotation. He also hired a manager who has re-energized the organization. He's brought sound baseball knowledge, good evaluation skills and accountability back to a team that lacked it for a decade. The Mets despite their owner and the cretins like Brunell and Sherman who cry "Chicken Little" are on the right path.

Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:04 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

I feel sorry for the Mets and their fans. It seems that every big free agent they sign ends up becoming a quarter of what they expected. And always injured. That ballpark is awful for power-hitters, so they won't be getting many big power guys wanting to play there 81 times a year, and even the pitchers don't seem to live up to their potential.

Hey Jerry Seinfeld : Buy your favorite team!

Since: Oct 30, 2009
Posted on: September 6, 2011 7:02 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

The reason why the Mets can't fill Citi field is simple...The product on the field is absolute garbage. Yes they have some good players, but those players dont get it done when it counts ala Wright,Reyes, and their pitching staff is god awful...The bottom line with this franchise is those 2 dumb fucks Fred and Jeff Wilpon who have placed the "EMBARRASSMENT" label on this team. Not to mention Fred Wilpons dumbass involvement in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme which im pretty sure is the #1 reason why they will trim payroll significantly next year as most of the people who were scammed by Madoff are suing the Wilpons for $500 million....Cant make it up...OH The Pain!

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: September 6, 2011 6:21 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

the mets remind me of the mid 70s mets  the team coming off  success in the early seventies and then not keeping up with the changing payroll times  getting rid of everyone until...there was a new owner NELSON DOUBLEDAY a man with the money clout and know how to run businesses from afar how this weasel wilpon got involved is the true history their downfall it wasnt till after doubledays departure AFTER they won world series that it spiraled out of control

Since: Jul 3, 2011
Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:53 pm

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

They could cut it below 10 million and they all would still be overpaid.

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