The Mets hold an annual Christmas party for charity, where they invite both players and members of the media. This is usually a win-win-win situation. Obviously, the charities win. The Mets win by getting publicity in late December that they otherwise would not receive. And the fans win because reporters get access to players and pass along some first-hand information. But this year’s event was a different story.
For some reason, the Mets invited R.A. Dickey to come to this event. Dickey is under contract for 2013 but it’s no secret that the Mets are simultaneously shopping Dickey for some offensive help while also negotiating a contract extension. Dickey has stated more than once that he wants to remain with the Mets and it’s clear that he’s frustrated with how the process has evolved, even if he understands why that is.
Still, it seems irresponsible for the Mets to invite Dickey to this party, knowing full well that there will be members of the media there. Dickey is honest, intelligent and articulate. So, when he was asked about his contract negotiations, he responded honestly. And now word comes out that the front office is not happy with Dickey for using this event to further his own agenda.
I freely admit that in most cases with a dispute between players and management – I side with the players. Having stated that, I see no reason whatsoever to support the front office in this spat. Did they really think the media wasn’t going to ask Dickey about his contract? Did they really think that Dickey would give a “no comment” or team-favorable spin? Then why are they surprised or disappointed at what ended up happening?
My position is that Sandy Alderson is handling the Dickey extension/trade talks perfectly. He’s holding out for a great deal, knowing that he still has time to hammer out an extension if a trade falls through. Alderson is doing everything there exactly like he should be doing. But the way the front office – that’s how it was described in the media, no specific name attached – is upset with Dickey for his quotes at the party, it’s hard to feel one ounce of sympathy for them whatsoever.
DETAILS OF WRIGHT’S CONTRACT – Originally, David Wright was owed $16 million in 2013. But under terms of his new long-term contract, Wright will receive a salary of $11 million this year, with $3 million of that deferred. Additionally, from 2014 to 2018, Wright will receive $20 million a year, with $2.5 million each year deferred. Finally, Wright will get $15 million in 2019 and $12 million in 2020. So, the Mets will be responsible for $15.5 million in deferred money to Wright, payable at some future date.
When the Mets deferred money for Bobby Bonilla, no one made a fuss of it at the time. But now that he’s back on the payroll, it’s a huge deal. When the Mets only paid Jason Bay $8 million in the first year of his contract, no one batted an eye. But when he was due $18 million this year, it became a big deal. So, if you’re going to be happy about how Wright deferred money now, don’t complain when it becomes another burden in the future.
2013 PAYROLL STILL UP IN THE AIR – With news of new money being available thanks to the restructuring of payouts to both Jason Bay and Wright, Mets fans are dreaming of a new free agent outfielder. However, you should not hold your breath waiting on that to happen. Alderson is already saying that the 2013 team will look a lot like the 2012 squad and that just because he has more money – that doesn’t mean that it will be spent in December. Alderson claims the money could be spent before Spring Training, at the trade deadline or not at all.
The Mets still have a staggering amount of debt. It’s difficult to find out exactly how much is due, but we do know there is $430 million in principle on a loan they took out on the team due in 2014. There’s also a $450 million loan against SNY due in 2015. Additionally, they owe $25 million every six months on stadium debt.
Earlier this year, there was talk about refinancing some of the team’s debt but to the best of my knowledge nothing concrete has happened in that regard yet. Oh yeah, that $430 million dollar loan? That paid off their SNY partners for start-up costs and also gave the owners $239 million in dividends. That’s right, they borrowed money to give themselves a dividend. So don’t expect this group to automatically reinvest money “saved” from the Bay and Wright deals into the 2013 payroll.
ALDERSON AND THE WINTER MEETINGS – Many people were upset that the Mets did not accomplish anything concrete at this year’s Winter Meetings. However, judging on what happened at those same meeting in 2010 and 2011 – perhaps we should be happy. In Alderson’s first Winter Meetings with the Mets, he came home with D.J. Carrasco and Ronny Paulino. Last year, he came home with Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and Andres Torres. Those six players were paid $18.1 million and returned 1.6 fWAR. Plus, the Mets still owe Francisco an additional $6.5 million in 2013.
IS ROSS RIGHT? – One name that the Mets are supposedly interested in is outfielder Cody Ross. Last year Ross, a righty batter, had an .807 OPS and 22 HR in 528 PA with the Red Sox. It would seem to be a nice fit, especially as Ross is capable of playing some in CF. But keep in mind that Ross had a .921 OPS in Fenway Park last year and a .684 mark in road games. Also, in the second half of the year, Ross had a .752 OPS after starting out with an .882 mark.
Perhaps the thing to be scared about the most with Ross is that he throws left handed and has a pitching appearance – one scoreless inning – on his resume. Would Terry Collins immediately put Ross into his pitching plans, figuring out ways to get him into the game against the dangerous Dee Gordon (.561 OPS) and his ilk? It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
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