"This has been a very interesting summer for me. I've learned a lot."
David Einhorn's choice words covered a lot of ground on Thursday as the deal to buy a stake in the team is now officially dead.
Once again, it's business as usual for the Mets as we're back at square one or perhaps even taking a step back as the latest plan is, "to sell a series of smaller units to family and friends to reach the $200 million stake they desire," instead of working with the next buyer in line.
Clearly, and of little surprise here, is that Fred Wilpon is going to fight this out till the bitter end.
It's a clever move by Wilpon to keep things in the family, and could potentially strengthen his hold as he rides out the Madoff lawsuit.
On the field this will likely have little effect on the remainder of the season, but next season could be a different story. Unfortunately this move hurts whatever chances the Mets had in signing Jose Reyes or anyone else for that matter. Expectations this off-season were going to be tempered at best, but there was at least some small hope Reyes could be brought back.
No one man defines a team, but it's hard to argue that Reyes isn't the Mets offensive catalyst and most valuable player. Yet even with Reyes and everyone healthy next year this team is still probably a .500 ballclub. Without him, the Mets are going to be really hard to watch.
Is It Time to Clean House?
With that it's time to clean house from top to bottom.
No one should be spared, including David Wright if the right deal comes along. Beyond the economics in slashing payroll it would give the franchise the chance to rebuild from scratch. This winter GM Sandy Alderson needs to seek out deals that can help the team stockpile talent and help get a nucleus in place to eventually add pieces with money pumped in ideally by new ownership or by a reformed Wilpon when the time comes.
As for Einhorn, it's hard to find fault in walking away given the level of investment he would be fronting.
He said so himself, "It wouldn't make sense to invest $200 million into a team and then be denied the ability to exercise a negotiated option down the road due to the inability to obtain the required vote of other major league owners at that time."
Today he's out, but I'm not entirely sure if this is the last we will hear from him. Taking the high road today could help him later as he potentially seems willing to wait in the wings and bide his time.
If the Mets take initiative this off-season by starting over, either Einhorn or someone else with deep pockets may have the chance to take over a winner. However if things remain unchanged, this team will never get past the shadows of the last half decade.
Either way things are going to hurt over the next few seasons Mets fans, but making the right moves now can help turn the corner that much sooner and put the club in good hands when someone financially solvent can take control.