Mets expected to lose $23M, but have $21M to spend

The Mets are expected to lose $23 million as a business in 2012, according to Josh Kosman of the New York Post.

However, Kosman explains, “even with the losses at that level,” the Mets will have roughly $21 million in free cash to spend on the team this off season.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Sept. 6, 10:40 am: I’m not going to pretend to understand every detail of this. I’ll leave that level pretending to the self-proclaimed baseball economic experts who clutter the New York media. All I really care about is what the team will spend on talent for next year and beyond, which, according to Kosman, is $21 million. Where that number is derived from can be figured out by people significantly smarter than me…

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Mets are on the hook next season for $53 million in payroll to Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Frank Francisco and Jon Niese. Yes, I’m including Bay and Santana because, even if they’re cut or traded, I assume the Mets will be paying a majority of the money due to them. David Wright’s and RA Dickey’s options push those commitments to $74 million. Of course, lots of players will likely be back and earning salary arbitration, such as Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, and maybe Daniel Murphy, Josh Thole, Bobby Parnell and others.

So, the estimate I’ve heard is more like $90 million in commitments, leaving around $10 million to be spent on new acquisitions (despite what Kosman is reporting), which would put next year’s payroll in the same place it started in 2012.

What can be had for $10 million? Not a lot. For instance, if Jacoby Ellsbury is non-tendered, I expect him to get at least $5 million as a free agent – or slightly more than free-agent OF Cody Ross. Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton will each likely get at least a three-year, $30 million deal. D’Backs OF Justin Upton will earn $13 million next season, with three full seasons remaining on his current deal, in the event Arizona decides to trade him for your top pitching prospect.

The point is, there isn’t going to be a ton of room to add new talent… I’m thinking maybe they sign a low-end outfielder, trade for another, sign a relief pitcher or two and call it a day…

“There will be room to make gradual increases in payroll, but nothing dramatic” Kosman’s source said.

“To be sure, the days of the Mets’ financial emergency are over. The team has repaid some of its loans and is on firmer financial footing.”