Jeff Wilpon Defends Mets’ Financial Plan

Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets chief operating officer, addressed several financial issues with MLB.com as the club opened spring training.

The Mets’ projected payroll for this season is to be shy of $95 million, but Wilpon said it isn’t necessary to have a Yankees-like payroll to compete.

WILPON: Defending plan.

WILPON: Defending plan.

“I would point to the fact that you don’t have to have that kind of payroll to win,’’ Wilpon said of the $140-million plus payrolls the Mets had prior to bringing in Sandy Alderson as general manager.

Alderson’s first objective was to clear the books of the unproductive salaries of Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay and Johan Santana, all brought in under former general manager Omar Minaya. Alderson also traded Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler.

The Mets’ payrolls the past five seasons, all of which they finished below .500 were: $149.4 million (2009); $126.5 million (2010); $143 million (2011); $96 million (2012); and $94 million (2013). The Mets currently have $75 million earmarked for 12 players this season. Barring a surprise signing, they won’t break $100 million. That’s a reflection of Alderson.

“I think he’s put the plan in place, and we’re ready to see the fruits of that labor now,’’ Wilpon said.

The Mets were more active this winter than the past two, and at best are expected to challenge to be a .500 team. Even had they signed shortstop Stephen Drew as most Mets fans want the organization to do, it’s questionable how much better he’d make them.

Another free-agent the Mets passed on was outfielder Nelson Cruz. Alderson wasn’t interested in either, despite a need in those areas.

“If those one or two things were there, we would have expanded the budget for them,’’ Wilpon said. “Just to get a guy because the fans think that’s the right thing to do, that’s not part of the plan.

“Sandy’s not going to overspend for something he doesn’t see value in. The value that we see in those guys versus what their agents were asking for does not meet.’’

The Mets aren’t the only ones thinking that way as both Drew and Cruz remain unsigned.

The Mets are stockpiling young pitching, but have little position-player chips. Wilpon believes that’s their biggest weakness.

“I don’t think we have enough position-player prospects that are ready to compete for jobs at the major-league level right now,’’ Wilpon said. “We’d like to have more, like we have with the pitchers. We’d like to have that same stable of young guys competing for position-player jobs. The guys we have are a couple years away.’’

While Wilpon said it isn’t necessary to have a monster payroll to win, the Mets haven’t won with their $90 million payrolls the past two seasons, either.

The Mets did spend more this year, bringing in Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young, but counter those additions with the loss of Matt Harvey and several questions in other areas and what defines a successful season remains unknown.

One thing for certain, it isn’t anything less than a winning record.

ON DECK:  Matt Harvey faces frustrating summer.

4 thoughts on “Jeff Wilpon Defends Mets’ Financial Plan

  1. “I think he’s put the plan in place, and we’re ready to see the fruits of that labor now,’’ Wilpon said.

    Right, and the plan is to spend only 87 million and pocket the 25-30 million TV windfall. The money invested this year only replaces the contracts that expired. Despite the 250 million loan extension, no additional spending over last year. 2014 was going to be the year we contend. What a joke.

  2. I think the Mets payroll should be 125M,I understand we are not going for it all this year but 2015 it should be 108 to 125Max not 95 M it is now.Based on market and revenue and to be competitive for a title.

  3. Yes. You don’t need to spend $149m to win. But you do have to spend something to offer a product your fans want.

    While Drew would not make us a playoff team he would remove uncertainty in the middle of the field with a known quantity. Perhaps Ruben is great or perhaps he sucks like last year. Also signing Drew would make him the 3rd best hitter on the team. At least we will have 3 players who can hit above 250

  4. As Tom Coughlin always says, “talk is cheap.” The Wilpons have no credibility and fans have no reason to trust anything that they say. This team is a joke and they will be lucky to win 75 games. The ownership has turned us into a small market irrelevant team.