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Pretty Simple, Really

Posted By Howard Megdal On August 14, 2012 @ 1:02 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

There’s been a fair amount of chatter this week about signing R.A. Dickey and David Wright to extensions. The two are easily the best players on the Mets in 2012, with both about three times as valuable as any other player and pitcher.
The Mets hold options on both: $5 on Dickey, $16 million on Wright. Arguably, the only leverage the Mets have with either comes this winter, when they can sweeten those below-market deals for 2013 ahead of their free agency.
Nor is there much question that, if permitted to hit the free agent market, both will be actively pursued by a ton of teams. Dickey is in his late 30s, but that is midcareer for most knuckleballers. Both are premium performers at positions where top talent is rarely available. Like shortstop. But I digress.
Here’s the problem with offering more money in 2013: as it stands now, the Mets owe $52.3 million in salary and another $8.5 million in buyouts of 2014 options to Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese and Frank Francisco. Just keeping Wright and Dickey at their affordable options adds another $21 million to that $60.8 million. So for six players, that’s $81.8 million.
If payroll simply matches 2012’s, that calls for all minimum-salaried players. So unless you believe that ownership will increase payroll AT ALL, redoing 2013 deals with Dickey and Wright isn’t in the cards.
Hopefully, some enterprising beat reporter will nail down the team’s planned 2013 payroll. Sandy Alderson spoke of it last year; Fred Wilpon has said this is a Sandy question as recently as Saturday, a ridiculous statement (Wilpon makes these decisions, as it is his money) but one that puts Alderson on the spot.
If the answer is anything like the same as 2012, the Mets’ best chance to sign Dickey and Wright isn’t any chance at all.

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