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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Sandy Alderson poses for photographers after being introduced as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sandy Alderson


Just How Low Can the Mets Payroll Go?

The Daily News had a quick-hit story this morning about the Mets' arbitration dealings — Mike Pelfrey, Andres Torres, Manny Acosta, and Ramon Ramirez will all be around next year, if you were worried — but it was one line at the end that struck us.

Here 'tis: With their offseason moves likely completed, the Mets will see their payroll shrink from about $140 million on 2011 to about $90 million in 2012.

We knew the Mets were lowering their payroll with Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran, and company off the books — obviously — but we guess we just didn't realize it was going that low. The Mets dropped $50 million from the payroll in one off-season. That is difficult to do. They dropped more than the whole payroll of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Diego, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City.

Of course, $90 million is still plenty high, even though the Mets haven't had a payroll that low since 2000. So can't they go lower? They sure can. Let's take a ride on the Cot's Baseball Contracts express, shall we?

After this year, they can buy out David Wright's contract for $1 million, or they can of course trade him. That's $14 million gone. R.A. Dickey is out after 2011, too; there's about $4 million more right there. Jon Rauch? $3.5 million. D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Cedeno, Scott Hairston, Manny Acosta: All a little more than $1 million, all free agents after this year. Slash, slash, slash! Replace them with minimum-salary, team-control guys, and you've got a savings of about $20 million next year.

But the real savings comes after 2013, when Johan Santana's $25.5 million — $25.5 million! — goes away (with a $5.5 million buyout). Cha-ching! The year after that, Jason Bay's $18.1 million (with a $3 million buyout) is done. And then it will all be cleared away. Just a couple years now, and the Mets will officially be completely picked to the bone. $50 million cuts aren't cool. You know what's cool? $80 million cuts.

Sandy Alderson will have to hang on one year later than that. He has no buyout clause. At this rate, we suspect he'll be pretty ready to go.

Photo: Andrew Burton/2010 Getty Images