Mets will have a bump in payroll in 2016
NEW YORK -- Though the Mets do not expect to pursue six- or seven-year megadeals this winter for players such as their own free agent, Yoenis Cespedes, they do anticipate a modest bump to their payroll.
General manager Sandy Alderson said that the budget, which was around $101 million in April and increased at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, will be at a "higher" level next April. But the team already has $60 million committed to David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Jon Niese and Juan Lagares. Arbitration raises for players such as Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia, plus near-minimum salaries for Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, among others, will bump that figure over $90 million.
On the slim chance that second baseman Daniel Murphy accepts the $15.8-million qualifying offer that the Mets intend to give him this week, the payroll would increase to around $107 million before adding a single player. That leaves little room for Cespedes -- or anyone else -- on a long-term deal.
"It's not something we like to do," said Alderson, who was OK after fainting due to lightheadedness following a news conference Wednesday. "Those [long-term] contracts often don't work out. But we're going to make those decisions as they're presented."
A trade could ultimately affect things, though Alderson brushed aside questions regarding dealing away any core members of his rotation: Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard or Steven Matz. Alderson also said he is satisfied with his catching tandem of Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, despite the notion that he could trade from that position of strength.
Where the Mets do plan to be active are the middle and bottom tiers of the free-agent market, seeking modest upgrades for their outfield and bullpen.
"We're starting from a higher level of expectations on the part of the fans, on our part as well," Alderson said. "I think justifiably -- we got to the World Series. The team has to be doing something right. We recognized where we may have weaknesses, and [we] will try to fill those. But we feel good going into next season."