Even though General Manager Sandy Alderson recently said that a formal budget has not been set for 2013, the Mets are likely to keep their payroll at just north of $90MM, a source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The source speculated that Alderson will have no more than $10-15MM to spend this winter despite the money coming off of the books this year.
If the Mets choose to non-tender Andres Torres, they would have roughly $17.8MM freed up, though they will also need to find outfield help and retool the bullpen. They'll also see a lot of that money go to scheduled pay raises while Johan Santana and Jason Bay will earn a combined $10MM more next season including their 2014 buyouts. Pay raises include Jonathon Niese ($2.23MM), David Wright ($1MM), Frank Francisco ($1MM), and R.A. Dickey ($750K) while Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Bobby Parnell and Josh Thole all figure to be arb-eligible.
A team official did not rule out the possibility of Alderson backloading new free agent deals to circumvent short-term limitations, but also pointed out that Alderson is cautious when it comes to long-term contracts. The Mets could allow themselves to venture into longer-term deals as they have no payroll commitments for 2014 beyond Niese's deal.