"It's interesting how you rebuild or how you do things. Spending money doesn't guarantee anybody anything," Selig explained, according to Lennon. "As far as the Mets are concerned, I know they're very comfortable where they are and they're very optimistic. I'll take them at their word."
In regards to the possibility the Mets could trade R.A. Dickey after winning the Cy Young Award this week, Selig said "I'm just not going to comment on speculation. The Mets haven't said anything about that and I've spent the last 24 hours with Fred Wilpon. I don't know where this speculation came from."
When asked if big market teams should still invest in their big league rosters during a rebuilding process, Selig said, "You bet. But there are different ways to try to compete, and sometimes you've got to be realistic."
I realize there are lots of concerns among fans and media, etc., about what the financial future is for the Mets. I get that. The thing is, it's a private business and only the Mets know the answer. I believe you win in MLB by building up your farm system, creating a base and momentum, and then spending wisely on free agents and making trades to complete the roster. So, I'm willing to let the jury remain out on the financial side of things... for now. The thing is, they're building their base, hopefully they find some momentum next year, and then - when a significant chunk of money opens up in the budget after next off season - they start spending again on better, more appropriate players for the team they're building now. If that happens, I think some fans will cool on their obsession with spending, and I think some media will relax their rhetoric. However, if payroll keeps dropping and the team keeps losing, despite freeing up money, then I think all hell will break loose. Right now, the Mets can point to Johan Santana's contract, and still Jason Bay's, and argue they are 'spending,' and that's technically true. But, the real proof will be in their actions one year from now, and everyone will be watching.
I still don't understand the argument among many fans that spending immediately equates to winning. It just doesn't - the Red Sox, Angels, Marlins, Cubs, and the Mets are all prime examples where the argument fails. And that's just in 2012. This year's weak free agent class is a prime example of that, where early reports suggest the top of this class is in search of big money and making them extremely overvalued, should they sign for anywhere close to what they're asking for. It's not that I don't think there are any number of free agents available who could make the Mets better, nor do I think the Mets can continue to not invest in the big league roster. I understand the message spending sends and what it means in particular with the Mets, especially after what the organization has been through in recent years. And, I think it's important the Mets prove they have the ability to make investments to the roster. But history has proven that throwing every last resource at free agent is not the answer to success, and the Mets are the prime example of that.
If you've followed me on Twitter, I've said on countless occasions that the $100 million the Mets are investing in 2013 would be a lot different than the $100 million they would invest in 2014 (assuming they invest $100 million in 2014). And, even if the Mets payroll were to (hypothetically) invest $80 million in 2014, their roster would likely be way more balanced than it is today. Why? Because they have such an imbalance of resource allocation on their roster in 2013, and much of that (in the form of Johan Santana's and Jason Bay's deals) won't exist at this time next year. Don't misunderstand that as my advocating for the Mets to spend less: it's a call to spend wisely. Going forward, the Mets should be able to invest in healthier contracts - be it through free agency or trade - and they can get better bang for their buck in the process.
Remember, nearly half of Sandy Alderson's payroll projection is dedicated to two players right now, both of which have grossly underperformed the dollar value of their contracts. They had $80.5 million committed to six players before they cut Bay and restructured his deal, and that didn't include the $2 million the Mets owed to Bay as part of his signing bonus. Even with a nominal increase in flexibility, it's incredibly difficult to operate under those conditions.