Noting that Mets GM Sandy Alderson has made a handful of recent media appearances in which he’s promised the 2014 Mets will have something approaching a competitive team’s payroll, frequent fly in the Wilpon ointment Howard Megdal takes to his Journal News blog to essentially ask what’s stopping the club from making moves right this moment (“the Mets have money to spend? Great. They don’t even need to wait until this winter to spend it.”)
Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero (above), a second baseman with a plus bat, is available to sign with teams. So is first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. The two are both 26 years old, making them years younger than the kind of impact players the free agent market will have this winter, and would give the Mets a chance to put two stars on their infield opposite David Wright at third base, while allowing them to deal Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores for help in the outfield or the bullpen. Even if Abreu costs the $60 million his agent floated, over, say, six years, that’s still just $10 million outlay for next year. Let’s be crazy, and give the same contract to Guerrero. Total outlay next year? $20 million.
Well. The Mets currently have $25 million total, on the books for next year: David Wright’s $20 million, Jon Niese’s $5 million. That’s if you don’t count Johan Santana’s buyout or Jason Bay’s deferral, and you shouldn’t, since the Mets assured us the reason they couldn’t add salary in 2013 is because they were fully accounting for both Bay and Santana in 2013’s budget.
So, adding Abreu and Guerrero brings commitments all the way up to… $45 million. That leaves plenty of room to even just sign outfielders on the free agent market, and deal Murphy/Duda/Davis/Flores for depth, or even pitching prospects if the Mets wanted to augment their system, or for a veteran starter, or a shortstop… the possibilities are endless.
Of course, this all relies on determining two numbers: what they Mets say their commitments are for 2014, and what the budget is. Subtract the second number from the first number, and boom, there’s your offseason budget. The rest is just noise. And the extent to which the Mets are keeping those numbers under wraps, even more than back in June, is disturbing.