Posted by Herb G at 11:00 AM
Some say forget 2013 when it comes to payroll, and focus on 2014 when the big bucks come available. There are so many conflicting numbers going around, however, that it is hard to gloss over the 2013 payroll numbers. I get a total payroll for this year of $86.825 million as of now. I get that from what is contractually due to 5 players, plus the two arb-eligibles that have been settled and an estimate for Murphy, plus 17 pre-arb players, some of whom can still be replaced by trades or signings, but are now on the opening day team. However, that total payroll figure includes deferred money of $5 million for Santana, $3 million for Wright, and $12.125 million for Bay, all of which need to be included for luxury tax calculations, but which does not represent the actual cash outlay for salaries for this year. The 2013 payroll, expressed as cash flow, is only $66.7 million. Call me stupid, but to me that is the number that really matters. It means that the Mets have about $28 million to spend to get back to last year's payroll number. (Only $23 million if Santana's $5 million annual deferred payment also inflated last year's $94.5 million payroll.) Maybe Fred and Jeff don't want to look at it that way, because if they can keep payroll around the current number they can run close to break even on the team, even with another attendance decline.
To me, it is just penny wise and pound foolish to punt 2013. Sandy still has an opportunity to improve the team, possibly making it a contender. Trade for a leadoff hitter like Crisp. Give Hairston his 2 years. Sign Marcum for 2 years and Young for 1. Sign Wilson to close and Resign Ronny Cedeno as the utility guy.
Would a lineup of Crisp, Murphy, Wright, Davis, Hairston, Duda, d'Arnaud, and Tejada, with Nieuwenhuis/Cowgill ready to step in if Duda falters, be strong offensively? I think so. Would a rotation of Santana, Niese, Harvey, Marcum and Gee, with Wheeler ready, and Mejia and Young there as backup, pass muster? I think so. A bull pen headed by Wilson, supported by Parnell, Edgin, Francisco, Familia, Hefner, plus Carson/Ramirez/Rodriguez may not be lock down, but it would be solid. And Kirk, Cowgill, Turner, Cedeno and Buck on the bench would add some punch.
Put a team like that on the field and they'd put fannies in the seats. As d'Arnaud and Wheeler came up, the team would only be more exciting. We can start the turnaround now, and make more major improvements next winter, when even more money comes off the books.