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NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are under .500 ... and in the red.
The team is expected to lose $23 million this season, the New York Post reported. General manager Sandy Alderson previously has said the Mets lost $60 million last season.
Decreasing the previous year's losses by nearly 62 percent is largely a function of the Mets slashing payroll by roughly $50 million from 2011 to 2012.
ESPNNewYork.com previously has reported that the 2013 payroll is expected to remain close to this year's figure, about $95 million, because of cash-flow issues.
The Mets did receive a $240 million equity infusion earlier this year from new minority investors, including political commentator Bill Maher. But that money was earmarked to pay off debt, including an emergency $40 million loan from Bank of America and $25 million loan from Major League Baseball.
The Mets nonetheless are expected to attempt to sign third baseman David Wright and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to extensions this winter. Both already are under the team's control for next season through club options. And the Mets, even with tight finances, will have more payroll flexibility in 2014 because only left-hander Jonathon Niese currently is under contract for that season.
Left-hander Johan Santana and outfielder Jason Bay -- who will earn a combined $50 million in 2013, including buyouts of 2014 -- come off the books after next season.
The Mets have struggled at the gate this season. They are averaging 29,023 fans per game, 17th in the majors and a decrease of 1,085 per game from 2011.
September attendance at Citi Field is projected to be dismal with the Mets out of the race, so the size of the decrease is expected to grow by season's end. As an indication of their desperation to get fans in the seats, the Mets are offering free admission to up to three children for every adult ticket purchased during the final month of this season.
The Mets declined to comment on the report.