By Matt Snyder
After losing upwards of $70 million last season, the Mets are set to drastically lower payroll in 2012. We knew that. But an ESPN.com report from Friday noted just how severe the drop will be. In fact, it's likely to be historic. With a payroll ESPN.com projected at $90.7 million for the coming season, it would represent a drop of $52.1 million -- reportedly the largest payroll drop in MLB history.
The previous "record" was held by the Texas Rangers' drop from 2003 to 2004, when they shed the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez from the payroll. In all, the Rangers slashed $48.4 million in player salaries, but the Mets are poised to blow past that. These Mets have shed the contracts of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, among others, from the opening-day payroll of 2011.
As long as Fred Wilpon's ownership group is in charge, the Mets will continue to find ways to generate any kind of revenue they can while also trying to not alienate their fan base -- as they wish to remain owners of the club. They have lowered ticket prices for the 2012 season, but will that keep the turnstiles moving frequently enough to turn a profit for the season? The NL East appears loaded, as the Nationals are up and coming while the Marlins just went on a winter spending spree. We know how good the Braves and Phillies are. Slashing payroll in record fashion is hardly the best way to convince your fans the team is trying to field a winner in one of the best divisions in the majors.
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