The Mets entered the 2014 season with a payroll of $89 million – close to what it was in 2013, but well below where it sat between 2007 and 2011 (when it peaked a shade under $150 million). According to general manager Sandy Alderson, he has clearance to raise the payroll during the 2014 season:
Mar 20, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers questions for a reporter before the spring training action against the Atlanta Braves at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
"We have the authority to go higher if it’s necessary at the trade deadline. I’m not worried about that at all."
Alderson’s assertion shouldn’t come as a surprise, nor should it be questioned.
It’s clear, going by the fact that the Mets tried to sign Grant Balfour and were willing to give Stephen Drew close to $10 million late in the offseason, that the front office has the go-ahead to increase the payroll – by how much remains to be seen.
Although the Mets are off to a 15-11 start, they can use upgrades at both shortstop and in the bullpen.
There are free agents out there (Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew, etc.) who can help, and there are also options via trade – some who will cost close to nothing money-wise, and others whose acquisition would boost the payroll significantly.
If the club is able to upgrade positions of need through the trade market (they have pitching to deal), great. If trade demands for young, under-control players remain exorbitant, it’ll be time to explore more expensive options.