New York Mets Payroll Will Not Increase, According to GM Sandy Alderson
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"Remain calm! All is well!"
In light of the team ownership's settlement with the trustee representing victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the natural question for media and fans following the Mets is where the team goes from here. According to Alderson, it's business as usual, except there's no longer a cloud of uncertainty and misperception hanging over the franchise.
However, any fans who might be hoping that ownership might break out the checkbook for some top-tier, free-agent talent should probably simmer down. That's not the plan Alderson had in mind for the Mets, even if this whole Madoff mess had never happened.
Alderson thought the entire operation was bloated to begin with. He eliminated one of the organization's minor league clubs, for example. But more importantly, Alderson trimmed the team's payroll from $140 million to around $90 million for this season. Even owner Fred Wilpon distanced himself from that decision, saying that was Alderson's call.
But that likely rules out any big contracts in the team's immediate future. Alderson wants more flexibility with the roster and having the payroll tied up with multi-year, megabucks deals doesn't mesh with that strategy. (All he has to do is consult his assistant, former Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, on how contracts like the ones given to Vernon Wells and B.J. Ryan can handcuff a team.)
Such a philosophy probably doesn't bode well for David Wright's future with the Mets. If he's looking for a contract lasting six or seven years, it sounds like he'll have to find it elsewhere. Though Alderson didn't come right out and say so, he did state that the lawsuit settlement doesn't change how the team views their third baseman.
Wright surely isn't helping that perception by struggling with an abdominal injury during spring training. He hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game yet, though the Mets are hopeful he'll see some game action this weekend.
This could mean that the Mets will look to trade their third baseman and avoid having to pick up his $13 million option for next year. (The team could also buy out the option for $1 million.) According to a Newsday poll, most Mets fans expect that to happen.
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