Mets officials continue to say there are not even firm ticket prices for next year and, thus, no set projections to establish a payroll.
But general manager Sandy Alderson recently established parameters when he insisted the team could be competitive in the $100 million-$110 million range, which simply reiterates one of the reasons he was hired in the first place: the belief he could do more with less (certainly with less than Omar Minaya was allowed to spend).
Of course, that fits right into what ownership needs and wants in this period, which is to shrink a $140 million payroll to something that permits the Wilpons to stop seeping money.
That one serious discussion being had at the upper reaches of the franchise is whether it would be wise to cut back greatly next year and make 2012 a rebuilding season in which club officials do not go through the annual game of trying to convince fans, if everything breaks right, they can be a playoff team.
Obviously, the public perception will be that such a strategy would be designed specifically to save the Wilpons money. Considering their plight, that cannot be rejected as part of the reasoning. And the Wilpons hate being called cheap by the media and their fan base.
But Alderson is a smart baseball man who has nearly a year on the job now. He can see the Phillies (even after all their trades of prospects) and Braves have significantly more talent than the Mets both in the majors and minors, and the Nationals are building a power base on both levels, as well.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post says, the Mets’ best strategy very well could be to continue to:
- Give youngsters such as Lucas Duda and Dillon Gee experience.
- Allow key prospects such as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler time to grow closer to the majors while Jenrry Mejia returns to the mound after Tommy John surgery.
- Have a second high-risk, high-reward draft in the Alderson regime with the potential of having two more high compensation picks if Jose Reyes leaves.
- Get one year closer to running out bad contracts to Jason Bay and Johan Santana — both can expire after 2013.
- Avoid spending on an ordinary free-agent group and save toward what is setting up as a blockbuster crop after the 2012 season — think Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain.
They probably want to see Johan Santana healthy next season and if he is healthy try to trade him if the Mets fall out of contention.
Also, as hard as it sounds, they probably would love to find a taker for Jason Bay's services which is going to be hard.
According to Cot's Contracts, The Mets will have roughly $63 Million on the books going into 2012 (minus $3.5 Million to K-Rod). The Mets highest 2012 contracts are $24 Million to Johan Santana , $15.2 Million to David Wright, and $18 Million to Jason Bay.
That gives the Mets about $50 Million to play with, but that's why the Mets put more into their moneyball front office rather than their roster this year.