Last year, the New York Mets finished 79-83, 18 games behind the Phillies. That’s not good for a team with the fifth-highest payroll in Major League Baseball ($134.4 million).In fact, the Mets have spent over a half-billion dollars on player salaries ($540.0 million) since they last played in baseball’s postseason (2006).
2011 figures to be more of the same. But there could be light at the end of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
There has been a lot of speculation that the Wilpon Family, owners of the Mets, are in financial trouble due to their dealings with Bernie Madoff. That speculation appeared to be confirmed when the Wilpon’s announced they were selling up to 25 per cent of the team.
The team’s financial woes may also explain why the Mets’ biggest off-season acquisition so far has been DJ Carrasco. And despite not adding any significant pieces, the team’s payroll is still projected to be approximately $140 million, with $116 million tied up in just eight players (Luis Castillo, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez).
But there might be hope. Several of the Mets’ bloated contracts will come off the books following the 2011 season. If we assume the Mets buy out Rodriguez’ contract ($3.5M) and fill all the available spots with a league-minimum players ($414K), the Mets are only committed to approximately $88 million in 2012. That is a drop of $53 million from the 2011 payroll.
Of course, the big question will be whether or not the Wilpons reinvest that money back into the roster, or if they use the savings to pay off their debts. But at least next winter, Mets fans will have some hope that good players can be added to the mix.
All contract information via Cot’s Contracts.
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