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Asked if he had any concern going forward that ownership's financial issues might prompt a pullback in spending in future offseasons that was not foreseen when he accepted the job, potentially affecting the re-signing of shortshop Jose Reyes, Alderson said he was unconcerned."Perhaps naively, I don't expect that this situation will be a hindrance in that regard," Alderson said. "I fully expect that decision will be made as it would have been, in the best interest of the team on the field, and the best interest of the overall sort of financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets -- as it would be with any other team. "... I mean, obviously there's a certain level of ambiguity surrounding this news. But from my standpoint, the facts are as they currently exist. And to some extent the decision to find a minority partner or some other source of recapitalizing the franchise is positive news from my standpoint. If there was an initial problem before, that can only be positive from my standpoint." Regardless, fans will be watching closely to see if Alderson's actions with regard to Reyes, who is poised to be a free agent next offseason after earning $11 million in 2011, will be affected by the team's financial issues. "I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it," Alderson replied. "And at this point I don't expect that any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose." The Madoff-related lawsuit, which is currently sealed, is reportedly seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from Fred Wilpon and brother-in-law Saul Katz. It was filed in December, two months after Alderson was hired.
Alderson acknowledged he did not know the depth of the issue or the possibility of a portion of the team being sold while he interviewed for the GM job.Commissioner Bud Selig, who reportedly plans to meet this week with Fred Wilpon, had recommended Alderson to Mets' ownership because of issues surrounding the team, but those issues were mostly limited to dysfunction and high payroll. "First of all, I want to emphasize that the plan that we have pursued the last couple of months was limited by only one fact, and that was the level of the existing payroll," Alderson said. "Our payroll going into the season will be somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. I think that is significantly higher than we'd like to be on an annual basis -- a product of adding some additional players that we felt the roster needed as well as some existing [obligations]. The plan and the approach that I've taken over the last two months has not been affected at all by any other outside factors. "From my standpoint, when I took this position, when I interviewed and took this position, I was of course aware of the pre-existing involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn't privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point privy to all that detail. And I wouldn't expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I have done over the last two months." Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.