Money is always a hot topic when it comes to the Mets. The team plays in the largest market in the country, yet its annual payroll since 2012 has ranked closer to the middle of baseball — or lower.
After its busy winter, the Mets’ payroll, according to RosterResource.com, is about $145 million. That figure includes the money the Seattle Mariners kicked in to offset Cano’s contract and the insurance savings from the deals for David Wright (who retired) and Cespedes, but it is less than the Mets’ 2018 opening-day payroll, $150 million, and significantly under the luxury-tax threshold, $206 million. Wilpon said Van Wagenen still had some wiggle room for more spending, but the amount was not specified.
Van Wagenen said the Mets talked this winter about every player available via free agency or trade, but concluded the team’s best plan for improvement was to spread its resources, to address multiple needs and not just commit themselves to a single, huge investment.
“The goal from the beginning was to address all of our needs in the most efficient way we could,” Van Wagenen said.
With Lowrie and Cano joining an infield that may include, among others, Amed Rosario, Todd Frazier, J. D. Davis and perhaps the prospect Peter Alonso, Wilpon said the Mets were crowded there. In the outfield, Van Wagenen said the Mets had multiple options, too. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo will return, as will the oft-injured Juan Lagares. Keon Broxton, an athletic but light-hitting outfielder, was acquired in a trade earlier this month, and Jeff McNeil is a converted infielder who has not played the outfield regularly since college.
“One of things we looked at last year and a reason we failed: We just weren’t deep,” Wilpon said.
That problem, the Mets said, has been addressed. But the solution does not appear likely to include Machado or Harper.