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Tom Verducci breaks it down - whos paying for all this?


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Who's footing the bill?

New revenue fuels Mets' winter spending spree

The Mets are counting on Carlos Delgado, above, and Billy Wagner to fill more of those Shea Stadium seats next season.

On the day the New York Mets introduced their $13.7-million-per-year first baseman, they reached agreement to pay their new closer $10.7 million while hoping to pay a new catcher about $8 million a year and continued to talk about a certain $19-million-a-year outfielder from Boston. The obvious question, after you get past wondering whether the Mets will end this winter as the team to beat in the National League, is where is all this money coming from?

It's too simple to assign the Mets' spending to the regional sports network the club will launch next year. What the network has done is altered the Mets' philosophy, imbuing a sense of urgency into their planning. As chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon put it, "We want to put an exciting product on the field and on the network. Obviously, waiting for the minor league system to produce is not as exciting."

The Wilpons own 65 percent of the network. "Based on the way they run their other businesses," said one Mets insider, "they will run it as a stand-alone business to be profitable in its own right." Translation: the Wilpons don't want to take from one pocket to put in the other.

Indeed, Wilpon explained that the Mets would be spending like this regardless of the launching of the network. He did allow that the network gives the budget "a little more room."

If the Mets aren't throwing around cable money, then where did the loot come from? First of all, it's not as much of a payroll leap for New York as it seems. The Mets spent $101 million on payroll in 2005 (third in baseball behind the Yankees and Red Sox) and expect to spend between $115 million and $120 million in 2006, which should keep them third and still far from the luxury tax threshold.

Much has been made about the so-called loophole that allows any first-time violators of the luxury tax in 2006 to enjoy a tax-free season. But remember, the tax threshold for 2006 is $136.5 million. "No way,'' Wilpon said, will the Mets even come close to that number. The loophole is a moot point.

New first baseman Carlos Delgado, closer Billy Wagner, a catcher to be determined (likely Ramon Hernandez or Bengie Molina) and Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, who remains on their radar, would cost about $51 million on an average annual value basis. (Privately, the Mets say they won't take on Ramirez without significant salary relief, either with Boston eating some of the $57 million due him over the next three years and/or the Red Sox taking on some Mets' salaries in a trade, i.e. the $22 million still owed Cliff Floyd and Kris Benson.) Here's where the Mets are getting some of the non-TV revenues:

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Great article BlackLabel.

Thanks for digging it up.

I think it clearly shows we haven't gone nuts payroll wise.

No, the Mets have not gone nuts payroll-wise. But I have the figures closer to 125 million, including a catcher at around 7-8 million. If they add payroll in Manny, or in middle relief, that will push the figure higher.

But it was the right thing to do. Go for it when you have a legit shot to win it all.

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For me, the biggest fallacy is the idea that AT THIS POINT IN TIME, the Mets are throwing money around. They're simply not if you look at the big picture beyond the what the mindless talking heads say about buying a 13.7 million 1Bman and a 10.7 million closer.

They removed 30 million in payroll by removing a bunch of players. They've replaced that payroll by addressing arguably the two biggest holes in the lineup, 1B and closer. They took a hit in RF to do it, replacing Cameron with Nady/Diaz.

I've been saying it all along - if the Mets acquire Manny, a big $ catcher, a new 2bman and relief help WITHOUT removing other payroll (Floyd, Matsui, etc.), then I'll be the first to admit they're throwing money around.

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No, the Mets have not gone nuts payroll-wise. But I have the figures closer to 125 million, including a catcher at around 7-8 million. If they add payroll in Manny, or in middle relief, that will push the figure higher.

But it was the right thing to do. Go for it when you have a legit shot to win it all.

I'd be interested to see how you come up with 125 million at this point. There's a site below that a fan maintains that has them at 92 million. He doesnt have Zambrano's salary in there since his arb. eligible, but even adding in that, they're only around 100-102.

Add an 8 million catcher is about 110 (which now they are saying might not happen - that a platoon of Castro and someone else might do the trick). Add some pen and bench help and they're around 120-125 max.

In the interests of full disclosure, those numbers take into account the deferred money on the Beltran and Martinez contracts, as well as the money Florida is paying Delgado, so they're not the same as what the league goes by for luxury tax purposes.


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Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 9:20 am Post subject:

mbn007 wrote:

BlackLabelJetsFan wrote:

mbn007 wrote:

Excellent deal for the Mets. Blows their salary out of proportion, especially if they land Wagner. But with Piazza off the books, this did not really cost anything. With Floyd and Matsui and Glavine dropping off next year, even Wagner won't be that expensive.

It is after 2007, when Wright, Reyes, and company start to become arbitration eligible, that the money issue will surface.

All in all, this Yankee fan thinks the Mets did very well, unless Carlos starts to become less productive.

I think, all told, they can add Delgado, Wagner, a catcher and some other relievers and come in around 110 million at most. At least I read that on another message board.

I will get back to you shortly. I need to do some calculations, but I think I have the effects of these salaries.

Here's what I was able to find.

The Mets closed 2005 with a Cap-related payroll of 116.77 million. This includes all salaries, and accruals of bonus money paid at signings.

Subtract the salaries of Piazza, Meint., Ishii, Cameron and Heredia. This leaves a cap-related payroll of 88.02 for 2006. There are small increases in some multi-year contracts, that add approximately 4 million to the deal. We are now at 92.02, give or take a bit. Add in Delgado, at 14.5 plus a tax-state increase of 1.5, and we have some 108.02. Add in Nady, and some expected small increase for the kids, and we are in the 114 million range, at the most.

So, adding Wagner at 10-12 per is very do-able. But then you addin a catcher like Molina at 8 per, and some assorted bullpen help adds a few million more.

Bottom line. Mets will be in the 135-140 million range, if they add Wagner, Molina/Hernandez, and assorted pen help.

This is without Soriano. Soriano would cost even more, unless they can trade Matsui to help balance the deal.

We had this same discussion this past Friday. The above was posted on the thread dealing with the Delgado trade. My sources include a couple of sites around the 'net, as well as a contact in the offices of one of the firms that deals with the MLB offices on a regular basis. ANd if I have this contact, so do a lot of media types out there, and they may even have higher ups who tell them this stuff.

Incidentally, I beleive that this imformation is public at many sites throughout the 'net.

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Sorry about that. A lot of posters have complained about having to repeat things to BlackLabel a few times. It is something that we are looking into!


All I asked for was data Maxie. Its refreshing to see someone bringing facts to the table, rather than the normal hystrionics (I know thats spelled wrong) that certain Yanks fans throw out there :wink:

I missed MBNs original response in that other thread, and its spot on from the perspective of how the league looks at the luxury tax and average salaries.

I think there are some other moves that aren't being taken into account and some assumptions (dumping Benson today for example, reports that Ramon Hernandez may only want 6 and not 8 million or that the Mets platoon Castro with a cheapo catcher, filling the pen needs from a high-cost perspective), and those numbers are strictly, if Im understanding correctly, average yearly salaries as the league figures out the luxury tax threshold. So they don't take into account things like Delgado actually only costing the team 12.5 as opposed to 14.5 per year thanks to Florida, plus the tax bump, and Beltran and Pedro deferring money down the road. Actual dollars spent in 2006 should come in less. But thats all accounting magic.

I think we can all agree that the Mets should be safely under the luxury tax threshold (the team has already stated plans as such), which for the largest market in the US, is respectable. I'd rather have them spend up to the luxury tax threshold than be like LA and keep it in the owners pockets.

Good stuff. Thanks for the well reasoned debate MBN. Its far too rare!

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In all seriousness, I do not recall hearing that the Mets were raising prices, unless I missed this.

As far as I've heard, they're not raising prices.

Though even if they were, player salaries really have no impact on the price of a ticket. Price is set on supply and demand.

If they spend more, put out a good product, then perhaps increased demand for tickets year over year could shift ticket prices.

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