Sandy Alderson told the New York Post's Joel Sherman that the Mets can have a $90- to $100 million payroll next season.
In addition, he said the organization has roughly $55 million committed to the 2014 Mets, when factoring in long-term deals, raises, arbitration players, etc.
In other words, five months from now, Alderson will have up to $45 million or so to spend on new acquisitions.
Sherman, like some other reporters and fans, feels the Mets should have a payroll significantly more than this because they play in New York City, to which Alderson responded:
“I think it is unlikely to go from $55 million to $150 million. Do I think we can get there? We would have to outperform our payroll, so we can increase attendance and increase payroll consistently over time. Overall, I agree with you, but I think we will get on a progression toward something. We will basically spend [on 2014 payroll] almost as much as we currently have committed next year, so that is a doubling. ... It is not because [of ownership financial problems]. It is because they have been burned by the big, long contacts, so we are not prepared to go from zero to 60 [mph] in 3.5 seconds, which I can’t argue with. But if we have enough young pitching, then $100 million will be enough to be competitive because we can use the money on position players, which is our problem right now.”I reject the idea that a team is somehow required to spend a certain amount of money on payroll simply based on geography. That's foolish.
I do think a team in New York City has to be fun and exciting to watch (given the amount of entertainment, media and competition for eyeballs in this town) if it wants to sell tickets and get ratings. And, yes, fun and exciting -- but most importantly, winning -- will cost a team money, but it's not a requirement to spend money to put a competitive team on the field.
It's important to note, however, that it's not just about winning. Look at the Yankees, who are 37-26 and have ratings and attendance down compared to a year ago. To his credit, George Steinbrenner knew the Yankees were about star power -- in addition to the success. The Mets are not the Yankees, though, and Sherman and other local talking heads should better understand the fanbase before dumping Steinbrenner's simple strategy on to Citi Field. In my experience, Mets fans would fall in love with a team like the Rays, as long as they're winning. Yankees fans? Clearly, not so much...
I want Alderson to improve the team and make it more fun to watch, but I don't need him to do that by spending just for the sake of spending.