Sandy thinks payroll will be in excess of $100m next season

During a Q&A with ticket plan holders at Citi Field this morning, Sandy Alderson said he thinks payroll will be around $100 million, “if not higher,” in 2013, according to Mike Vorkunov of the Star Ledger.

However, Alderson added he has yet to speak with ownership about increasing their payroll for next season.

In addition, Alderson said he plans to retain David Wright and R.A. Dickey over the long-term.

“As you all know, we have options on both those players and it’s not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013,” Alderson said to season ticket holders on Sunday. “We’re going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver. We’re committed to trying to bring those two back.”

According to Cot’s Contracts, the Mets payroll is around $94.5 million this season. In regards to 2013, the Mets already have $80.5 million committed to Johan Santana, David Wright, Jason Bay, R.A. Dickey, Frank Francisco and Jon Niese.

Jon Rauch ($3.5 million), Ramon Ramirez ($2.65 million), Ronny Cedeno ($1.15 million), Scott Hairston ($1.1 million) and Tim Byrdak ($1 million) are eligible for to become free agents after this season.

Mike Pelfrey ($5.7 million) and Andres Torres ($2.7 million) are arbitration eligible, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York believes both will be non-tendered this winter.

Earlier this week, Alderson told Mike Francesa of WFAN he expects to be active in the trade market this winter and said, “We need an infusion of players, productive players. … after having watched this team for a couple of years, maybe it’s time to make some moves.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

He’s right, the Mets need an infusion of productive players. … Alderson is also right when he says a new roster must be built in trades. There is lots and lots of talk in media and among fans about ‘spending money,’ but it’s talked about in such a nebulous, idealistic way… as if dropping $150 million new dollars out the window will magically bring an All-Star Team to St. Lucie next Spring. It’s not that easy, even if you print money and have no budget. You can only spend on what’s available, and the free-agent market is average at best. Impact players will only be had by negotiating with other teams.

In either case, I think the big moves this winter will be in locking up Wright and Dickey to long-term contract extensions, which could end up costing as much as $200 million. But, even by spending that much money, it doesn’t necessarily add new talent to the team … it simply keeps the team’s two biggest starts.

To read Michael Baron's thoughts on this topic, click here.

Michael Baron, Contributor

The main issue in the short-term is there is a whole lot of baggage contained in the $80.5 million they have committed for next season. Regardless of whether or not Bay is on the roster next season, the Mets are going to pay him $19 million next season. They owe Francisco $6.5 million, and he’s a major question mark next year. They are also going to pay Santana $31 million next season, and they don’t know what he’s capable of producing once again. On top of that, they have to reconstruct their bullpen, find catchers and outfielders, and build more depth on their roster – there is a very small window from a financial perspective to make that happen, even if Sandy can go modestly above $100 million next year.

After 2013, their payroll commitments dwindle to nobody, but presumably they’ll sign, acquire, and hopefully retain some players into that year. Nevertheless, it’s going to be important the organization not just show a willingness to invest in the roster, but an ability to invest in the roster in 2013 and beyond – it’s important they do that very soon as well. It’s not to say they should sign everybody on the free agent market or make trades for high priced players just to appease fans, but they have to start making progress and make moves which are geared towards improving the team and winning. Some of that might be achievable internally, but it’s clear the Mets must go outside the organization to address a lot of their problems both for the short and long-term.