Earlier this week, Fangraphs published a piece that calculated what each team’s payroll will be on opening day without any further acquisitions. According to the site, the current Mets payroll is the 7th-lowest in baseball at $82 million.
As Adam Rubin of ESPN New York pointed out, Fangraphs is ignoring potential performance bonuses as well as a chunk of money that every team allocates for “extra expenditures,” meaning the Mets’ actual payroll is between $87 million and $88 million.
Before flipping out over how low the Mets’ payroll is projected to be, let’s use some comparative analysis:
- According to Fangraphs, the Chicago Cubs’ expected opening day payroll is $89 million, just $7 million more than their Mets projection.
- There are 12 teams who have projected payrolls between $79 million and $100 million – close to half of all teams in the majors.
- The teams who are projected to have the 5th, 4th, and 3rd lowest payrolls in baseball in 2014 (the Athletics, Rays, and Pirates) all made the playoffs in 2013.
The above is not an effort to excuse the Mets for having such a relatively low payroll. Rather, it’s an example that if an organization is properly run, having an astronomical payroll is not necessary for success.
However, with the Mets having been negatively impacted by the Bernard Madoff mess and with what’s happened to their payroll since, most will fairly tie their frugality to a lack of funds.
While it’s highly unlikely that the Mets currently have the wherewithal to add salary with reckless abandon, it’s apparent that they have the ability to bring the payroll near the $100 million mark as soon as this month.
The club attempted to sign reliever Grant Balfour a few weeks ago, a move that would’ve brought the payroll to just about $95 million. In addition, there are reports that the Mets are more than willing to sign Stephen Drew if agent Scott Boras comes off his absurd demands.
If the Mets were to sign Drew, the cost would likely be about $10 million annually, which would bring the actual payroll to a shade under $100 million. A payroll near $100 million would put the Mets firmly in the middle of the pack. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Whether or not the Mets sign Drew remains to be seen, but the ability to add payroll is there.