It doesn't take much to surmise the Mets won't be throwing around big dollars this winter. Attendance will further plummet, and therefore revenue. The Madoff effect is what it is. And, perhaps most importantly, the money already is spent.
Even if the Mets had 16 players making the major league minimum next season -- which is impossible -- the salary commitments for 2011 already total $120 million. (It's valid to note some of Johan Santana's salary is deferred with interest. And Jose Reyes' $11 million for 2011 is an option, although he should be making that much regardless of whether he signs an extension instead.)
The 2011 commitments:
Santana $22.5 million
Carlos Beltran $18.5 million
Jason Bay $16 million
David Wright $14 million
Oliver Perez $12 million
Francisco Rodriguez $11.5 million
Reyes $11 million
Luis Castillo $6 million
Ryota Igarashi $1.75 million
16 players at major league minimum: $6.4 million
Total: $119.65 million
Oh, and you'd probably like to re-sign free-agent-to-be Pedro Feliciano, who is due for a raise and commitment beyond this year's $2.9 million salary.
The Mets could backload any new contracts with a low base salary in 2011. The alternative, which is more likely, is not spending at all.
Meanwhile, hold your breath K-Rod's contract doesn't vest for 2012. If he finishes 100 games between this season and next, and 55 games next year, and is deemed healthy, he's due to earn $17.5 million in 2012.