Mets Diamond Notes: 2013 Payroll Staying Put, Jenrry Mejia Could Join Rotation in September

By Matt Musico

Although Sandy Alderson recently said that he hasn’t had a discussion with his fellow executives about the Mets’ 2013 payroll, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that it will likely be around the $90 million we saw New York operate under this season. This is disappointing and frustrating for a team that has shed $50 million in payroll since 2011. Actually, Mike Pelfrey, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch, Ronny Cedeno, Scott Hairston, and Tim Byrdak are all slated to hit free agency this winter as well, taking over $15 millon off the books. That’s not even counting newly acquired Kelly Shoppach.

Rubin’s source told him that Alderson has a max of about $10-$15 million to spend on free agents, as he already has $80.5 million wrapped

up for next year between Jason Bay, Johan Santana, David Wright, R.A. Dickey, Frank Francisco, and Jonathon Niese. For a team that has plenty of needs going into next season, this news is infuriating for fans, especially since Alderson said on multiple occasions during June and the early part of July that money wouldn’t be an issue when they were buyers in the trade market. A source has also reported that he anticipates the team to non-tender Andres Torres, freeing up another $2.7 million, but just leaves another hole in the roster that desperately needs to be filled. Combine these financial issues (paying $40 million each in 2016 and 2017) and declining attendance because the product on the field isn’t competitive anymore, the source told Rubin that he wouldn’t be surprised if the payroll dropped more. Who knows how that will effect contract extension negotiations between the organization and David Wright.

Jenrry Mejia‘s experiment with being a reliever was nothing short of a bust this season in Triple-A, but he will most likely be getting called up to the Big Leagues once rosters expand in a couple of weeks, with potential he will be joining the starting rotation. As of right now, Johan Santana is scheduled to make his start on Thursday, but if he continues to struggle, the coaching staff will have to seriously consider shutting him down for the rest of the year, allowing a spot in the rotation to open up for Mejia. Terry Collins is going to be talking to Alderson about the situation Monday when the team arrives back in New York. As a reliever, he’s 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA in 16 appearances, and opposing batters are hitting at a .303 clip. As a starter, he’s 2-1 with a 1.05 ERA in 7 starts, while the opposition is only hitting .210.

We all know how much the Mets have struggled in the second half this season, but MetsBlog really put it into perspective yesterday. Overall, New York has a 14-21-3 record in series for 2012, but after the All-Star break, Terry Collins has watched his team go 1-8-1 in 10 series. To make it worse, they haven’t won a series on the road since they took three of four from the Giants from July 30th-August 2nd. Thanks to the performance from Niese last night, Jeremy Hefner has a chance to put the Mets in position to win their series against the Nationals. Ruben Tejada had a 16-game road hitting streak that was snapped last night in D.C., and looks to start another one today against Gio Gonzalez.