The New York Mets have a lot of work to do this winter if they hope to contend for the National League East crown next year. The roster has a talented core in place, but that core needs some serious help in the form of quality reinforcements to round it out. The Mets need, at minimum, two starting position players (one in the infield and outfield), a starting pitcher, and another quality reliever. Those things won’t come cheap, but the Mets have a lot of money coming off the books and saved a ton of money by dumping salary at the trade deadline, so they should have plenty of cash to burn. The problem, however, is whether or not the front office will actually spend it.
The Mets have hinted at lowering their payroll from last season’s $155 million Opening Day figure, but they have been vague about how much money they will spend. Newsday’s Marc Carig took a stab at the team’s finances, and he projects that the Mets will have about $30 million to spend towards all of those needs. According to Carig’s math, the Mets already have $71 million committed to the payroll with about another $43 million ticketed for arbitration raises. Add another $6 million for pre-arbitration eligible players, such as Michael Conforto and Steven Matz, and the Mets have already allocated $120 million to their 2018 roster without adding any new players.
That is a problem, especially if the Mets want to upgrade all of the necessary spots to fix their roster, but it will be on General Manager Sandy Alderson to stretch his dollars effectively. The $30 million figure should take the Mets out of the running for guys like Mike Moustakas or J.D. Martinez, both of whom would command close to two thirds of the available budget per year, but they could get a combo of guys like Eduardo Nunez, Bryan Shaw, Jason Vargas, and Lorenzo Cain to fill holes. The Mets could also look to try and trade for help in some areas to try and stretch their money further. This could be avoided if ownership actually reinvested the money they saved from the trades instead of putting it in their pockets, but that is an entirely separate conversation.