The Mets have kept mum on their payroll situation heading into 2013 but several reports have indicated that the club won't ratchet it far beyond the neighborhood of $90MM. There are a number of multi-million dollar contracts coming off of the books including $5.69MM for the very likely non-tendering of Mike Pelfrey, Jon Rauch's $3.5MM deal, and Ramon Ramirez's $2.65MM pact. However, much of those savings will be eaten up by 2014 buyouts for Johan Santana and Jason Bay and pay raises to David Wright, Frank Francisco, Jonathon Niese, and others. On top of that, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Bobby Parnell, and Josh Thole will all be headed to arbitration this winter. General Manager Sandy Alderson will be working with an extremely tight budget, which will make it difficult for the club to justify also going to arbitration with outfielder Andres Torres.
Torres has started 79 games for the Mets in centerfield this year but has not been able to return to 2010 form when he hit .268/.343/.479 with 16 in 570 plate appearances with the Giants. Instead, Torres owns a .227/.330/.320 batting line across 105 games with a career low -2.6 UZR/150. Torres avoided arbitration with the Mets last season for $2.7MM after coming over from the Giants and would probably net something near $3MM for 2013.
Looking ahead to next season, the club could install Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the full-time starting centerfielder. That would position Torres as the club's fourth outfielder and at ~$3MM they would likely prefer to put that money into their bullpen and other areas of need. Even if Torres can no longer deliver the kind of offensive production that he did in San Francisco in 2009 and '10, he can still be an attractive option to clubs looking for a veteran with experience at all three outfield positions. However, he's not likely to see something in the range of $3MM and it would seem to be even less likely to be with the Mets.