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Alderson: Stacking money, but Mets have only 5s

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm •  Published: November 11, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Sandy Alderson stepped into the hotel lobby at the general managers' meetings and was ready with a quick quip.

"I was upstairs stacking our money," the New York Mets general manager said Monday.

He paused for four seconds.

"Don't get excited," he said. "They were all fives."

And how high was the pile?

"Not as high as some people expect." he replied.

After two offseasons of cutting payroll, the Mets are ready to spend now that Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez all are off the active books. But only to a point.

"We have more options available to us. We talk about the money we have to spend, but I think in terms of all of our resources, we're in a better position," Alderson said.

"Free agent-wise, we're in a better position. Trade-wise, our system is better. We have some accomplished players at the major league level, and we have a little cash. So I think in those terms we're better armed this year than we have been to do some things."

New York finished 74-88 for the second consecutive year and has endured five straight losing seasons since moving into Citi Field. The Mets had just three sellouts at their ballpark, and home attendance has dropped in five straight seasons for the first time in franchise history. Their 2.14 million home total was their lowest since 1997.

Payroll fell, too, from $142 million in 2011 to $104 million last year to about $95 million this year.

As the Mets rebuild, they might try to sign some of the top free agents who turned down $14.1 million qualifying offers from their former clubs. The Mets would not lose a first-round draft pick as compensation because they select 10th and the top 10 picks are protected.

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