When the Mets settled on salaries with the vast majority of their arbitration-eligible players a few weeks ago, we took a look at where the team’s Opening Day payroll stood at that time. A few things that are relevant to the team’s payroll have happened since then:
- Jay Bruce doesn’t appear to be going anywhere via trade, and if that remains the case by Opening Day, he and his $13 million salary will remain part of the equation.
- The Mets signed Fernando Salas to a one-year, $3 million contract.
- The team followed that signing with a one-year, $6.5 million contract for Jerry Blevins, a deal that also includes a team option for $6 million for 2018.
- Wilmer Flores won his arbitration case with the Mets, which doesn’t change the numbers we were using as we worked with the assumption that he would get the $2.2 million he asked for instead of the $1.8 million salary submitted by the Mets.
In addition to those moves, the Mets brought in lefty Tom Gorzelanny on a minor league deal that would pay him $1 million if he’s in the big leagues. He’d also have the opportunity to make up to $1.8 million in incentives beyond that base salary. For now, we’ll leave him off the projected Opening Day salary, as he has to make the team first before he’ll earn any of that salary.
Gone from the list below since our last update are Josh Smoker and Erik Goeddel, both of whom would be earning the league minimum if they were to end up on the major league roster. Michael Conforto remains as one of the two backup outfielders, but if he ends up starting the year in Las Vegas to get regular playing time, Brandon Nimmo would presumably take his spot. Both players would earn only the league minimum this year, as well.
There’s additional money that the team might factor into its payroll calculations—deferred payments to former players, the salaries of the fifteen players who are on the 40-man roster but not the major league roster—but the salary of the 25-man roster is probably the most important way of looking at things. Barring a trade that sends Jay Bruce—or perhaps Juan Lagares—elsewhere or any new signings, the Mets will start the year with $152 million committed to that group. That’s not among the top payrolls in baseball, but it’s a big step up from the stretch of years that it hovered around $100 million.