It has been a busy week for Sandy Alderson; first, he was on with Mike Francesa on the WFAN, and while he talked about a lot of things concerning the Mets, what he said about the organization moving forward garnered a lot of attention. From what he did mention, it sounded as if he would be open to spending some money this winter to improve the team, while sources say he’ll be lucky if he’ll be able to. Then, he said that they need to “infuse” the roster with “productive” players.
Yesterday morning, he held a Q&A with season ticket holders at Citi Field before the series finale against the Astros, and said things that fans absolutely want to hear, but we’re not sure if it will actually happen. First on the agenda was talk about the payroll for the 2013 season. Alderson still hasn’t sat down with the Wilpons to talk about increasing the payroll for next season, but he expects the Mets to come in around $100 million, maybe even higher.
On WFAN last week, Alderson told Francesa that it’s time to make some moves after watching the Amazins for a couple years and evaluating what they have on the Big League roster and in the farm system. That not only includes improving the team via the trade, but also in the free agent market, thus his desire to increase the payroll. With $80.5 million locked up already for 2013 between Johan Santana, Jason Bay, David Wright, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, and Frank Francisco, New York would have to spend a little more to fill the roster if they expect to be competitive, especially within the NL East.
Sandy Alderson sometimes talks out of both sides of his mouth, but I think he’s actually serious when he’s talking about increasing the 2013 payroll. It looks as if he’s finally ready to start making some moves, and if we’re talking about the payroll at this time in February and it’s still the same as it is right now (approx. $94.5 million), then it’s obvious the Wilpons were not on board with Sandy’s recommendations. However, with the Bernie Madoff scandal behind them and their unwavering trust in their GM (specifically Fred Wilpon), I would be surprised if they didn’t grant his request to spend some money, unless they truly don’t have any.
Another topic of discussion with the season ticket holders is something we’ve been talking about all year, retaining David Wright and R.A. Dickey to long-term contracts. He answered the question the same way he has most of the season; he remains confident on agreeing to extensions with both of them. This is a unique situation because both Wright and Dickey have come out and said that they love being in New York, they want to be part of the solution, and money isn’t the most important thing- different from what we heard Jose Reyes say before last winter.
MetsBlog featured quotes from both of New York’s best players this season. First Wright was quoted from Mike Kerwick in the Bergen Record:
"“I’m not necessarily looking for leverage. I’m not necessarily looking for every last penny I can make in this game.”"
Next, it was Dickey who provided a quote before yesterday’s ballgame:
"“I’m comfortable here. That says a lot for me. … I do want to win too, because I am at the place I am in my career, and I want to be part of that solution here. Whatever that’s going to be. I would like to know what direction that we are going – I think that’s fair. I’ll make decisions accordingly. But I’m open to talking about whatever they’d like.”"
So, even though these two players are in different points in their career, they’re both searching for the same thing- to win. There has been plenty of speculation as to the numbers both Dickey and Wright are looking for, but it seems as if they’re more interested in the plan moving forward to getting the Mets back to the playoffs. Wright experienced it in 2006 and desperately wants to get back to that feeling in Queens, and at this point, that’s all Dickey cares about.
So, these two stories actually go hand-in-hand; Alderson wants to work out extensions this winter while both are under team control with options for next season, but what he does to fill out the rest of the roster, whether it be through signing free agents and/or making some trades, will affect his negotiations with two of the team’s most important players. Even though some of his moves make us scratch our heads, Sandy is very intelligent and knows that his plan for this upcoming season is vital to those contract talks, and if the Mets stand pat, or decrease in payroll again, it would be tough to explain to Wright and Dickey that they’re moving forward, especially after what’s happened in the second half this season.