The Mets, according to this have the 7th highest payroll in baseball, at $120.1M. This list is based on Opening Day rosters, so the Mets number doesn’t include Ollie and Castillo (or even Gary Matthews, Jr.) so it’s really more like $140M, which would be good for 4th highest. Whenever I hear people say something about how the Mets have such a high payroll, yet they stink, it pisses me off. It’s true, the Mets are technically paying out $140M or so this year, but how much are the players on the field earning?
Flushing Money Down the Drain
Here’s a look at a few players (with dollars and percentage of the 2011 payroll) who take up huge chunks of the payroll, yet don’t give anything in return:
Johan Santana – $21.6M / 15%
Unfortunately for the Mets, he hasn’t played a game yet and it remains to be seen a) whether he’ll play this year, and b) how effective he’ll be if he does. I assume he’ll eventually come back, but I doubt he’ll be the Santana of old.
Jason Bay – $18.1M / 13%
He began the season on the DL, but ever since he’s returned Jason Bay has contributed nothing toward winning ballgames—but hey, at least he hustles. Now healthy, he does his best to ensure the Mets lose as many games as possible. Bay has only 5 more RBI and 2 more extra-base hits than our pitching staff! He’s 0 for 10 with 7 strikeouts this season with a man on 3rd and less than two out. Not only is he killing us at the plate, but his enormous contract is handcuffing Alderson, and may cost us our beloved Jose Reyes. If that happens I might quit watching baseball.
Released Players – $19.5M / 14%
Then there’s our old pals Ollie & Castillo. These former fan-favorites (and Gary Matthews, Jr. at $1M) account for another 14% (over $19 mil) of the total payroll (that’s a three-flusher). To put it in perspective, that’s more than the combined salary of our 20 lowest paid guys on the current 25-man roster ($18 mil).
All of the above make up 43%, or $59M, of the $140M payroll. Add in the money thrown away with injuries to Wright, Ike, Pagan, Young, and others, and the Mets have been fielding a team that earns WAY below what Wilpon has been shelling out. The current 25-man roster of the Mets earn a combined $84.8M, which would be 18th highest in baseball (and they’re tied with the Rockies for 18th best record).
The Mets are top-heavy
A ridiculous 74% ($63M) of the current roster’s payroll is comprised of four players—Beltran, Bay, K-Rod, Reyes. The foursome earn more than 8 entire teams—Blue Jays, Marlins, D-backs, Indians, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Royals—but of the 8, the Mets only rank ahead of the Padres and Royals in the standings.
When Wright and Santana return to the lineup, our top six players will comprise over 82% of our payroll or a whopping $99M–thank God for minimum wage youngsters.
Beltran and Bay ($39.7M) combine to earn more than the entire KC Royals ($36.1M).
Better Days Ahead?
As horrible as all this sounds, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Injuries have allowed guys like Turner, Tejada, Pridie, Murphy, and Gee to flourish and only strengthens our bench once the gimps return. Castillo, Perez, and Beltran’s combined $39 million come off the books after this year, which should allow the Mets to sign Jose Reyes-and hopefully they will if they have half a brain.
The bad news is we’re stuck with Bay through 2013. Let’s all pray he figures out how to hit before then.