December 5, 2012
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.
February 14, 2012
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.
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?
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.