The lawsuits are settled, but the money ain’t flowing for the Mets just yet

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When Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz settled their Madoff lawsuit the other day, the first thought among most was “hey, it’s not as bad as we thought it would be.” The next thought was “hey, now maybe the Mets can spend some money.”  The next thought: “when?”

Not too soon, says Sandy Alderson. This doesn’t change all that much right now:

“We’re going through a process of redirection and sort of reinvigoration,” Alderson said. “That takes a little bit of time and a little bit of patience … The immediate impact on our payroll is going to be negligible. The last time I heard, Albert Pujols already had signed for 2012, so those opportunities are past us.”

Which makes sense. And I don’t believe anyone thinks that there’s a reasonable way to spend real money in 2012. Albert Pujols is off the market. And so is everyone else short of people like Johnny Damon and other guys who aren’t going to help this team be any better.

But it’s also the case that the end of the uncertainty about the Madoff lawsuit means that the Mets front office is now going to be judged on the same basis as any other large market rebuilding team and references to their financial challenges won’t carry much weight.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.