Hey guys, using the incredible resource of Cot's Baseball Contracts, I've created a spreadsheet breaking down the Mets payroll.
(Personal Aside: When it comes to playing GM in my head, I have always kept the payroll in mind. The reason for the latter is two fold. One, it always annoys me when someone suggests signing this guy or trading for this guy without actually thinking about other variables involved such as how much would this actually increase payroll or, in the case of trades, what you would have to give up. Two, I always think payroll because I like the idea of not just winning but doing it smartly. When a group of friends of mine used to play the multi-player franchise modes of Madden, MLB 2K, NBA 2K, etc, I didn't want to just win more games than them or win the championship, I want to win with a lower payroll as well that way there is no excuse for my dominance. In Baseball Mogul 2008, I created a team that for 10+years won over 100 games with a payroll that had every player at the minimum. End aside.)
Some observations about the payroll: 117.5 just about matches the payroll of 2007. Signing Lowe for 14 would increase the payroll to 131.5, putting the payroll about 6 million short of the 2008 payroll. Now, this might cause some fans to say, "see we have room for Manny, especially with Wagner and Delgado off the books next year," but looking long term we see that the Mets have a number of players due for big raises in the coming years mainly (no pun intended) Maine, Pelfrey, and half our bullpen. Signing Manny would increase the Mets payroll to $156 million, that's a pretty big jump (19 million) from last year.
Another observation, Francisco's option is pretty ridiculous, 17.5 million if he finishes 55 games in 11, 100 games in 10-11, and determined healthy for the 2012 season. Here's hoping Putz pitches so well this year, we're justifed in putting Frankie in the setup role in 2010.
Overall, the Mets are in great financial shape. In order to be in great financial shape, a baseball team wants to have three tiers of players, Big money players [who earn it] (Beltran, Santana,) Mid-Money highly talented players [who signed below market for security] (Wright, Reyes,) and low cost players (Maine, Pelfrey.) With these three tiers, a team can remain competitive while keeping a steady payroll by rotating the tiers; for example, Wright, Reyes replaces Big Money, Maine, Pelfrey replace Mid-Money, Murphy, Niese replaces Maine, Pelfrey. Now, obviously there will be overlap during the transition and every player doesn't fit neatly into a tier, but I still believe the Mets are in great shape.