Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Currently, David Wright accounts for 20 percent of the Mets and Sandy Alderson’s 2014 payroll.
According to Newsday’s Marc Carig, of the 10 clubs that made the playoffs last season, none had a player who occupied this much of their budget.
“One rival executive likened the approach to diversifying a portfolio, a tactic that guards against underperformance while preserving enough flexibility to adjust on the fly,” explains Carig. “The Mets have taken a step toward that.”
The goal of every organization seems to be to spread the money around the roster, while also spreading out their expiration dates, this way no one asset holds a team back from making additional acquisitions when needed.
According to people familiar with his approach, Alderson is unlikely to ever have more than three to four players occupying the bulk of his budget in a given season. He’s not alone. For instance, while the Braves and Cardinals had five players occupying at least 10 percent of their payrolls respectively, according to Carig’s research, the Tigers, A’s and Pirates had three, the Reds had two, the Indians, Rays and Red Sox had one and the Dodgers had none. Of course, many of those payrolls were larger than the Mets 2013 allocations.
Last year, Jason Bay and Johan Santana each accounted for as much as 20 percent of Alderson’s payroll each, yet neither played a single game in a Mets uniform.
The Mets have three players (Wright, Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon) who each account for at least 10 percent of the team’s expected 2014 payroll, which is on par with Alderson’s limit and with teams that made the postseason in 2013. In the event the Mets sign another $10 million a player (say Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales), it would adjust the math to have four players making at least 10 percent and none making 20 percent. This may also factor in when considering whether to give Drew a two- or three-year deal, especially since Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Matt Harvey and others will be due raises in the next few years.
In other words, it seems to me that the secret to sustainable success is less about the total number being spent, and more about when the money is spent, how it is allocated and who it is spent on.
Read More: The Payroll Sweet Spot (Carig, Newsday)