Curtis Granderson Be Gone With Wilpon

Does the Curtis Granderson signing give Met fans any confidence going into 2014?

Ho Ho Ho Met fans.  The Mets rang in the holiday spirit by actually completing a deal for a real major league player.  I know, you were all nervous that yet another year would pass by with nothing but false promises, leaving us with a quadruple A baseball team to root for.  You thought that somehow you were undeservedly placed on the naughty list by Santa once again.  Well, not this writer.

You see, outside of the past two seasons when the Wilpons were essentially bankrupt, the Mets were always good for at least one move to wet our appetites.  In fact, the Mets could always be counted on to make that one move each and every year to appease the fans.  A Token Move of Appeasement, used as a vessel to keep the fans interested in the team.  Heck, it may even be enough to get some fans who have had nothing but resentment towards ownership to loosen the purse strings and buy a season ticket package.  The theory is that desperate fans will react favorably to any decent transaction if they are starved enough for good baseball.  I think we Met fans qualify in this regard.  We may be overqualified if you ask me.

This is the typical annual approach of the Wilpons.  It has actually been successful and will likely be so again this year.  I bet that there have been hundreds of fans that have already purchased tickets today in reaction to this move.  However, if you haven’t had that knee-jerk reaction, or haven’t had a moment to pause during your busy work day to go online or call the Met ticket office today, I urge you to pause.  Here is why…

Curtis Granderson is a nice player.  There are many positives about him.  He can handle playing in New York.  He can hit for power.  He is a lefty bat that has been sorely needed to compliment David Wright.  He fills an OF need that the Mets desperately had to fill.  He has a little bit of speed.  He is a nice guy to boot.  In fact, there is little to not like about him.  Being 32 with only a four year contract is not necessarily a disastrous scenario in the world of baseball contract evaluation.

So why should you not throw money towards the Wilpons’ coffers just yet?  Here is a good reason.  The Mets filled a single hole amongst many with this signing.  The last time I checked, they are in need of a shortstop, a first baseman, possibly another outfielder, two quality starting pitchers, and an entirely new and effective bullpen.   Of the other positions that are not mentioned, only David Wright is a sure thing.  Even the established starting pitchers give little confidence going into next season either because of the potential for injury (Niese), or inexperience (Wheeler).  Without Harvey to lead this team, that leaves many, many holes to fill.  I count approximately ten at the least just to complete the 25 man roster.

If the present is anything like the past for these Wilpon-lead Mets, this will probably be their only splash into the free agent pool this year.  If that is the case, then how far ahead are these Mets from last year’s version?  Let me enlighten you.  Perhaps they are not any better at all.

If the Mets essentially stand pat from here, they might repeat the 74 win season they had a year ago.  It might be as easy to assess as simple mathematics.  Add Granderson and delete Harvey.  In fact, I might be a bit overly optimistic with this assessment.  The loss of one of the best pitchers in baseball cannot be replaced so easily, regardless of the star position player that he is being replaced with.  They may finish worse than last year if the rest of the roster is once again filled in by band-aid players.

I personally need to see a lot more from the Mets before I can become remotely optimistic about their 2014 season.  I know that I have little confidence in the Wilpons doing the right thing, and If history has anything to say about that actually happening, then it may very well be another long baseball season in Flushing.

Back to Reality…Again

April 17, 2013

Hello Metropolitan fans.  Long time no post.  At least it has been for me.  No matter how long I stay away, the Mets and their lousy ownership just pull me right back in.

Today’s subject follows the atrocious double-header sweep by the Rockies yesterday.  For any Met fans who began to sip the Kool Aid after a small sample of successful games against the likes of the Padres and Marlins to open the season, shame on you.  It isn’t as if the team had impressed any of us with the off-season moves they made.  Did anyone think that the John Bucks, Marlon Byrds and Collin Cowgill’s of the world were going to amount to any measure of sustained success in 2013?  Not to mention the fact that Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey now compose 40% of our starting rotation.  I mean really.  The analogy that comes to my mind is comparing the Met roster to a building with large holes in its foundation.  Rather than repairing those holes with durable cement, the Wilpons decided to use silly putty instead.  Sure the holes are indeed filled, but it is only a matter of time until the foundation continues to crumble, inevitably leading to the entire building suffering a complete collapse.

Such is the prognosis for the Mets 2013 season.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  It certainly should.  After all, it is the same formula that the Wilpons have concocted to produce a forgetful season for each of the past four years.  The formula goes something like this.  Two established, healthy, proven major league talents + one budding young prospect that the organization is pinning their entire future on + six physically decrepit players + five washed-up players with familiar names that no one else wanted + eleven players who are either unproven or that no one had ever heard of.  Unfortunately, this is a formula for failure that anyone not named Wilpon can easily understand.

Alas, it is the Wilpons who are captain of this vessel, and not unlike the Titanic, we were doomed from the start.

The 2013 Met season is not much unlike the Titanic.

The 2013 Met season is not much unlike the Titanic.

Another Shameless Self-Promotion. Nine More Outs took their act to Houston last summer to watch the Astros play their final season in the NL. We tried to educate the fans on the upcoming move, and got their opinions along the way.

David Wright Be Gone With Wilpon

Will David Wright be smoking any more victory cigars with the Mets?

It is that time of year once again Met fans.  As we bask in the afterglow of R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young Award frenzy, we turn our sights towards the 2013 season.  Just as we do every off-season, our minds wistfully follow the Hot Stove reports and Winter Meetings with the small shred of hope that the Mets will suddenly act like a large market team by making an unexpected splash or two.  You know, the type that would actually improve our team by signing a player in his prime for some meaningful dollars.  Someone for Met fans to hang our hats on.  Someone that gives us a touch of amnesia and makes us forget about the recent years of non-competitive misery.  Someone to give us some warmth during this long, cold winter.

Alas, what have we learned in recent years?  Mets management executes only what absolutely needs to be done in order to show us that they are trying.  They do not offer the educated New York baseball fan true hope.  No, Met management offers only The Token Move of Appeasement, or TMOA.  Yes, ticket sales are on the minds of the Wilpons.  Make no mistake about that.  Met ownership is banking on this tactic to lure the desperate Met fan into purchasing a season ticket plan, or perhaps a partial plan as a consolation prize.

This year’s version of TMOA is David Wright.  Not even the Wilpons could be idiotic enough to let their franchise face walk away from the team.  It is of no concern that the contract offered by the Wilpons will be backloaded with a significant amount of deferred money to be paid off through the 2020 season.  Whatever it takes to accomplish their one goal of selling tickets to cover the their massive debt and perhaps make some semblance of a profit.  Winning?  That is not part of the equation.

Let us look at this from another perspective for a moment.  If you want to measure the quality of the player David Wright truly is,  he first needs to be removed from the Met roster.  This is because he is a superstar on the Mets in comparison to any other position player currently under contract.  The truth of the matter is that Wright is a very good player, but he is not a superstar, nor an MVP caliber player.  He is not a player that can carry a team on his back for sustained portions of a season.  In other words, he is not a Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and perhaps not even a Mike Trout.  Of course, I am listing the elite here.  However, if we move down the line just a bit, there is a second tier of talent in the majors that Wright may still fall short of placing within.  Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, and Andrew McCutchen all come to mind as more productive offensive talents than Wright.  If DW had the benefit of playing alongside one of these talents, well then the Mets would have something cooking.Part of me feels bad for David Wright.  He will never get the opportunity to be a part of a winner here if he has to be the number one guy.  I wish better for him.  The other part of me sees it this way.  He did sign on the dotted line, and I believe he knew what he was getting himself into.  He is getting paid a king’s ransom.  Why should I feel bad for him?

My feelings for David Wright aside, the major concern is whether or not the Mets made a sound baseball decision here.  It is clear that Sandy Alderson was under direct orders to sign Wright at any and all costs.  However, we have learned that the Wilpons would not know a sound baseball decision if it slapped them in the face.

What do we know about the current state of this Met franchise?  We know that they are banking on the young pitching that they developed or acquired through trade.  If we are lead to believe that this is the direction they are headed in towards potential future success, wouldn’t it make sense for the Mets to grab some young position player talent as well?  Outside of Wilmer Flores (a third baseman subsequently blocked by David Wright’s presence), the Mets do not have anyone in the minors worth speaking of.  That being said, who do the Mets expect to win with in the coming years to go along with all of that young pitching talent?  The last time I checked, teams can not win championships losing by 3-2 and 2-1 margins.   We have heard whispers of the Mets looking to find some outfield talent on the cheap this off-season.  Do the Mets truly believe that they can get by this way and legitimately compete going forward?  Will they suddenly wake up and spend adequate money on some offensive talent in the coming years?

These are all great questions that will never be asked to the general manager nor ownership, and if it were asked, it would be left without answer.  I do know this, David Wright might have brought back some nice position player talent if he had been traded previously.  I know there is no guarantee that prospects bring future success, but how does our alternative look right about now?

There is one undeniable truth here.  David Wright being flanked in the middle of our order by the likes of Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis does not excite me one bit.  This much I know without any hesitation, and I know all Met fans feel the same way.

 

This is the End

March 19, 2012

There’s always next year.  Oh wait…there isn’t.

I’ve been pondering how to go about writing what needs to be written for many hours today.  All through the day the topic has been bandied about by every Mets insider and newspaper.   Everyone talking about either the financial numbers decided in today’s “lawsuit” or their predictions as to when the Mets payroll will come back to figures that resemble a major market baseball club.

Very few, if any, have discussed the real story here.  I suppose that my blog’s name gives me some sort of responsibility to yet again translate the real story that other sources somehow fail to mention.   I do not take this obligation lightly, and therefore wanted to ease my way into it.   Well,  here goes nothing.

Today, the New York Mets Ball Club died.  There.  I said it.  It had to be said.

Huddle closer dear reader.  You see, we Met fans did not witness any sort of victory this morning as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz exited the courthouse with their highly paid attorney to meet and greet the mass media.  No, we did not.  In fact, we experienced quite the contrary.  Magically, the Wilpons have escaped their wrong-doings with essentially a slap on their privileged wrists.  The numbers themselves, dissected with the precision of a neurosurgeon for most of the day today, are themselves meaningless.  Suffice it to say, all is fine and dandy in the land of the Wilpons.

Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz outside courthouse Be Gone With Wilpon

Fred and Saul are all smiles today. I am not, and neither should you.

 

Fred was quoted as saying, “Trying to bring the New York Mets back to prominence, that our fans deserve”.  I am not sure what that means exactly, as the Mets have not been a prominent franchise since Fred took over as sole owner back in 2002.   Sure there was 2006, but when you are a top 5 payroll team, you have to make the playoffs once in a while, don’t you?  Even if you underachieve along the way.

Ultimately, we are left to digest what this statement truly means.  This is where I come in to help make sense of it all.

The Mets have done little right from a baseball standpoint since Carlos Beltran struck out looking to a then underdog St. Louis Cardinals team.  They have developed little to no talent from their minor league system since the arrival of David Wright and Jose Reyes.  They have employed a general manager who not only came across as illiterate, but became the butt of all baseball jokes for some of his decision making on personnel.   They have created a new low for a sports medical staff in areas of incompetence and mismanagement of baseball (and non-baseball) related injuries, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same doctors and trainers for so many years.  They have failed at any and every level to conceal news that shouldn’t be shared with the media, leaving us to wonder why they have employed the same public relations staff for so many years.  Oh wait, I just said that.  I think there may be a trend starting here.

Most importantly, before Bernie Madoff’s name was ever muttered by anyone who was not part of the financial world, the Mets were a failed franchise.  They had set a Major League record for largest regular season collapse by allowing a seven game lead with seventeen games remaining to disappear.  They have yet to smell the playoffs since then.  The Mets continued to spend money on the wrong players year after frustrating year, always culminating in the same result.  Failure.  The truth of the matter is, if resources were not the issue, then wouldn’t smart baseball people have cultivated a better result.  At the very least, wouldn’t they have sniffed the playoffs in one year since then?

The key term above is smart.  This is something that has severely lacked with the Mets over the past five years.  The Wilpons have continuously employed inept baseball people, not to mention in all other baseball related departments as well.  This may be due to the fact that the Wilpons portray themselves as “family-oriented” owners, whereby they hire friends and colleagues to fill their various posts.  Good baseball people with solid reputations?  No, that has never been on the Wilpon’s agenda.

Even when the Wilpons begin to reinvest moneys into the team in the coming years, is there anyone naive enough to believe that money alone buys championships?  This seems to be the only thing that anyone has been talking about today.  “All I care about is when they stop acting like  a small market team and start spending money on players.”  That is all well and good, however it is not what will make this team competitive.  Unless all of the areas I have discussed are corrected, none of that will matter in the least.

Today’s news unveiled one undeniable truth.  The Wilpons are here to stay, and stay they will.  With this now immovable albatross, I fail to see anything to get excited about at all.  To get as cynical as I can possibly get, I will profess that the Mets will never again make a World Series appearance, let alone win a championship.  Well, at least in both my and Jeff Wilpon’s lifetime.  Contrary to whatever drivel Mr. Wilpon spoke this morning outside his joyful courthouse, this is the absolute end of the New York Mets.

Unbelievable.  If one word could sum up what has transpired recently, that would be the one.  Yesterday, it was reported that the Mets GM was taking jabs at Met ownership’s finances.  This comes from the same guy who was also recently quoted as saying, “We feel that we are going to be far more interesting to watch than most are anticipating.”  Maybe that was meant to be an indirect dig at the state of the Mets as well.  Perhaps it was a read between the lines sort of statement.

Regardless, Alderson was not pulling any punches when he tweeted, “Will have to drive carefully on trip; Mets only reimburse for gas at a downhill rate. Will try to coast all the way to FL.”  This has been the buzz on Twitter for the past 24 hours, and has seemingly taken on a life of its own.

Sandy Alderson Jokes Be Gone With Wilpon

Even Sandy Alderson can not contain his laughter when it comes to the financial state of Met ownership

One thing is certain.  The Mets PR department is more defenseless than ever when it comes to social media.  Not that they were very good at anything before social media became a prominent way to spread news and discussion either.

It becomes more and more clear by the day that the Wilpons face an uphill battle that holds little to no reward upon reaching its apex.  When the team’s GM has no choice but to attack the growing disdain for his financially strapped employers, where else can this really go?

The Mets enter the 2012 season as a virtual non-entity.  The only news that anyone creates or writes about is the upcoming hearings to be held in March.  If the Mets were not a New York professional sports team, they would be a complete afterthought.  Ticket sales will surely decrease to unheralded lows this year as well.  This will be extremely troublesome for the Wilpons, as they have publicly stated that they need the revenue from ticket sales to help them skate by financially this year.

All of this spells big trouble for the Wilpons and Mr. Katz.  However, as stubborn as this trio is, they will fight tooth and nail to hold onto majority ownership of the franchise.

How can they dig their way out you say?  Unfortunately, they have been afforded an escape hatch to this sinking ship.

ONE – Bud Selig,  Fred Wilpon’s friend and crony, had his reign as MLB commissioner extended recently.  Unlike the situation with the Dodgers and the McCourt’s, Selig will afford the Wilpons every opportunity to dig their way out of this debt.  He would even approve another loan or two if need be to keep his buddy in good standing.

TWO – The Mets have already found family and friends, the only people dumb enough to invest a collective $20 million, as minority owners.  This dough is being used to desperately pay off some outstanding loans, which will enable ownership to take out future loans in good standing when they need them next year and beyond.

THREE – The lawsuit pending has already taken a turn in the favor of the Wilpons.  The principal moneys that Irving Picard was pursuing in the Bernie Madoff case have already been dismissed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the United States District Court of Manhattan.  There are many sources who believe that the Mets may only be responsible for about $83.3 million.  If the Wilpons become responsible for only this amount (originally Picard was seeking $1 billion), they would achieve a stay of execution.  Once this occurs, the Wilpons will invest money back into the team in a matter of three to five years.  This will bring the fans back into the stadium and get them to start spending on everything from tickets to t-shirts to concessions once again.

Sounds rosy for the Wilpons and the Mets doesn’t it?

WRONG!

This scenario ensures that the Mets will continue to be run by inept baseball owners, whose only care in the world is the bottom line.  Unfortunately, this does not include a little thing called winning, regardless of how much they preach its importance to them.

Let us not forget that the Wilpons’ track record has been completely muddled with poor decision-making from the minor leagues on up to every post held for the big club over the past 25  years.

Finances aside, we can be assured that bone-head decisions will continue for years to come with the Wilpons at the helm.  We can also be assured that the Mets will never, ever win a World Series as long as the Wilpons remain in control.

This is true even if their GM stops cracking jokes publicly about them on social media outlets.

A Truly Great Read

December 16, 2011

I recently came across an article written by Mike Silva’s New York Baseball Digest in regards to the Wilpon’s and their financial troubles.  It is not only a fantastic read, but it has motivated me to purchase a book entitled “Wilpon’s Folly: The Story of a Man, His Fortune, and the New York Mets” by Howard Megdal.  You can read Mr Silva’s article here, and I certainly encourage that you do.

Mr Silva certainly poured his heart and soul into this article, and any true Met fan who is disgruntled by the current situation will truly enjoy this read.

 

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