The Mets' 2013 payroll is expected to remain nearly identical to this season's figure, which Sandy Alderson placed at $100 million (including all 40-man roster players and a $3.5 million buyout of long-departed closer Francisco Rodriguez).
The problem? As we've noted before, with $9 million in 2014 buyouts for Johan Santana and Jason Bay charged to next season, according to Alderson, the Mets essentially are at that figure before adding any players. And that's with none of the existing free agents being re-signed, including Scott Hairston, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch, Kelly Shoppach, Tim Byrdak, Chris Young and Ronny Cedeno ... and with the non-tendering of Mike Pelfrey and Andres Torres.
These six players alone total $80.5 million:
Santana $25.5 million + $5.5 million buyout = $31 million
Bay $16 million + $3 million buyout = $19 million
David Wright $16 million
Frank Francisco $6.5 million
R.A. Dickey $5 million
Jonathon Niese $3 million
And that means, on a $100 million payroll, the other 19 players can average no more than $1.03 million a player. (And that's highly generous figure, since you use more than 25 players during a season because of DL trips. Add to that players such as Ike Davis potentially making $2.5 million to $3 million as a first-time arbitration-eligible player and the money evaporates quickly.)
The minimum salary for 2013 is $490,000.