Mets' COO defends payroll: 'Being top five in payroll' hasn't 'won us a World Series'

Earlier in the offseason, the New York Mets were said to have something like $10 million in payroll flexibility remaining. That was before the Mets signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a three-year deal worth $39 million -- a contract that will pay him $10 million in 2018. As such, it's fair to wonder just what the Mets' budget looks like for the rest of the winter.

On Tuesday, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson addressed that very subject, acknowledging that payroll could go up -- but quickly noting that payroll alone does not win games:

Technically, they're right -- money doesn't win games. Talent does, however, and talent costs money to acquire.

Besides, Mets fans have fair reason to be annoyed with the club's spending in general. Despite playing in New York, the Mets' payroll has topped $150 million just once ever, and that was last season. Even if the Mets want to avoid the luxury tax, they have more than $60 million in breathing room, according to Cot's Contracts' estimation. Now, obviously, no one expects the Mets to spend that much. But a glance at their roster reveals that they could stand to spend more in order to upgrade a few positions.

Currently, the Mets are set to enter the season with some combination of WIlmer Flores, Gavin Cecchini, and Matt Reynolds at the keystone. Bringing back Neil Walker would make a lot of sense. Likewise, the Mets could stand to add a reliever -- and perhaps another starter, to protect against their rotation suffering an injury during the spring. Heck, the Mets would also benefit from grabbing a righty outfielder who can spare Jay Bruce versus lefties.

Is any of that asking too much? Maybe. The point is, though, that the Mets could be taking advantage of the slow and depressed free-agent market to boost their chances. Instead, they're not -- and that's justly frustrating for a fan base who had to sit through a miserable 2017, just as they've sat through years of speculation about how much (or how little) their team has to spend on talent.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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