“I think it is unlikely to go from $55 million to $150 million. Do I think we can get there? We would have to outperform our payroll, so we can increase attendance and increase payroll consistently over time. Overall, I agree with you, but I think we will get on a progression toward something. We will basically spend almost as much as we currently have committed next year, so that is a doubling. … It is not because . It is because they have been burned by the big, long contacts, so we are not prepared to go from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds, which I can’t argue with. But if we have enough young pitching, then $100 million will be enough to be competitive because we can use the money on position players, which is our problem right now.” - Sandy Alderson to the NY Post
So Sandy Alderson is estimating the 2014 Mets base salary at $55 million including arbitration raises, etc. He thinks the Mets can have a $90-$100M payroll in 2014 including new free agent signings, which would leave $35-$45M to spend on free agency.Personally that seems like a rosy scenario so I looked at it myself. I think there are only 8 arbitration/contract players from the current organization who are very likely to be on the 25 man roster in 2014 (I also estimated arbitration raises) and Santana and Bay who are still on the payroll:
Santana $         5.5
Wright $       20.0
Davis $         5.0
Niese $         5.1
Murphy $         5.0
Parnell $         3.0
Gee $         2.0
Tejada $         2.0
Turner $         1.5
Bay $         3.0
17 min salary players $         9.0
I'm not 100% sold on Ike Davis making the team, and also I left Baxter out who would be up for his 1st arbitration, though he could make the squad. Even so, this gets us to $52M from those 10 players, which is below Sandy's $55M estimate. But that leaves 17 roster spots to fill - the minimum salary rose from $414,000 in 2011 to $480,000 in 2012 to $490,000 in 2013. I estimated it might be $530,000 in 2014 given the uptick in the US economy. That gets us to $61M before any free agent signings.Does anyone believe the 2014 salary will actually rise to $100M? I'd bet a lot on it being much much closer to $90M, which would leave ~$29M for free agency (and of course if you sign someone for $3M that only counts as $2.5M above the minimum salary for their roster spot). I think this is a far more realistic portrait of the spending that will occur in the offseason.Now the scary part comes after 2014, because only Santana and Bay's options will come off the books. If Ike Davis is bad he'd likely wouldn't be tendered a contract, but Niese/Murphy/Parnell/Gee/Tejada/Turner/Duda will all be due multi-million dollar raises - so that's all kind of a wash. So basically the only money that might come off the books after 2014 are any 1-year free agent deals. Other than that the 2015 team will be the current organization + whatever free agents the Mets sign this offseason (which means it'll basically be the same as the 2014 team). My conclusion is that this offseason is gigantically important to the Mets organization. It's incredibly important that the free agents the Mets sign to even 2-year deals produce, because otherwise the team's performance through at least 2015 is almost entirely dependent on the team's high level prospect hopes (aka mostly guys we've seen already).I am scared.