Why are the Mets spending so little money?

“The Mets were sued today by a trustee in the Bernard Madoff case. The Mets say it’ll be business as usual, and look, they did just spend several million dollars to hire a new front office. But given how little money they appear to be spending on payroll, it’s natural to wonder whether the Mets are financially limited because of this suit.”

~ Ken Davidoff, Newsday

I don’t understand what there is to wonder about.  I see the same criticism from some fans as well.  This wondering would make more sense if the Mets were significantly below their typical operating budget of around $140 million – yet refused to spend the available cash.  Or, I could also understand if they were going from a $140 million payroll to a $100 million payroll.   But they’re not.  The problem is that they already have roughly $140 million committed for next season, and that’s before acquiring new players, which would explain why they have so little money left for new talent.  Do I like this?  No.  Is it fun?  No.  But, the number is what the number is.

For instance, the Nationals are said to looking to up their payroll from $60 million to around $100 million, which would explain them being able to sign Jayson Werth, while also being connected to Cliff Lee.  However, the Mets are already at their budget thanks to previous free-agent signings like Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez and Johan Santana, among others.

Now, I understand if people were asking: “How come the Mets aren’t spending above and beyond the $140 million to field a better team and make up for past mistakes at the same time?”  However, since we know that isn’t going to happen, and since we know their typical budget is $140 million in salary, and since we know they’re already around that number, I’m not sure what all the wondering is about.