After bashing New York Mets' players like Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and David Wright, and telling Sports Illustrated he is anticipating the team will take a 30 percent cut in payroll next year, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his general manager Sandy Alderson will be facing some difficult decisions in the coming weeks.
The organization that has been called the “New York Mess” by many has been described by Wilpon as “bleeding cash,” and the owner estimates the organization will lose around $70 million this year.
In the midst of all these financial problems, the front office has dealt with the growing trade rumors that surround the Mets’ two homegrown stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright.
Reyes, who Wilpon thinks will want “Carl Crawford money” is leading the National League in hits, triples and stolen bases, and is first among shortstops in OBP.
The currently-injured David Wright, is a five-time All-Star who has also won a Gold Glove as well as a Silver Slugger award, yet his owner described him as a ”really good kid. A very good player, not a superstar.”
Losing just one of these players would be a huge hit to the team’s integrity and dignity with their fan base. Unfortunately, Wilpon is fielding a $142 million, .500 ball club this year and is currently dealing with a potential loss of millions in the Madoff Trustee Lawsuit that has forced him to sell a minority share of the organization. (Though, just a minority may not be enough to fix the organization’s problems).
Over the past four years, only the Yankees and Red Sox have spent more money than the Mets, yet the team has not yielded a playoff appearance during this span. Wilpon took the easy way out by calling his players out, but this underachievement stems from a problem much larger.
Wilpon and his organization has been notorious for overpaying players that are just not that good. Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Kaz Matsui and Mo Vaughn are all good examples of Wilpon’s superfluous spending. Losing quality players like Wright and Reyes would only do further damage to a fan base that has endured the most heart-wrenching span of seasons in recent history.
In spite of what Mr. Wilpon says though, the 2011 Mets are not a bad team. After starting the season 5-13 they have battled to stay just four games under .500 with a depleted roster. They are a scrappy group that has gotten production from many of their younger players. It is apparent that there is talent on this team, but when you slap the $142 million price tag on them, it is hard not to call them underachievers.
It is obvious that the Mets organization needs to shed its salary next year, and it may be inevitable that such star players as Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran may be traded. But will a pay cut truly fix the organizational woes that Mets fans have experienced for a decade?
Fred Wilpon’s ignorance has allowed for bad financial moves both on and off the field. It is possible that the only way this team can be restored to some sort of respectability is if he steps down from the spotlight and sells the team outright.