The Mets and $100 million contracts

dollarsRoyals Review, an SB Nation site, recently held a simulation where 30 fans were GMs of MLB clubs and were given the choice to run their team as they saw fit. This is a great idea and while it’s not anything to take too seriously, it’s always interesting to see more real-world constraints built into a model. It’s one thing to say – go trade for Matt Kemp! Yet, it’s another thing entirely when you have to deal with another person in making a potential deal happen. Anyway, here’s what the Mets ended up doing in this exercise:

New York Mets
• Traded P Jon Niese and 2B Daniel Murphy to the Rockies for P Juan Nicasio, P Drew Pomeranz, IF Josh Rutledge, 3B Pacheco and P Wilton Lopez
• Traded OF Brandon Nimmo to the Braves for 2B Dan Uggla, P Cody Martin and $10 million
• Traded OF Lucas Duda to the Mariners for 3B Ty Kelly
• Signed OF Shin Soo Choo to a 7 year $137 million deal
• Signed P Scott Baker to a 1 year $3 million deal with up to $6 million in incentives
• Signed OF Marlon Byrd to a 2 year $12 million deal
• Re-signed P Latroy Hawkins to a 1 year $2.5 million deal
• Signed P Jason Frasor to a 1 year $2 million deal
• Signed P Daisuke Matsuzaka and P Mike Pelfrey to minor league deals
Recommended Budget: $90 million
Projected Simulation Payroll: $92.4 million

While I’m not a fan of four of the first five items (and the sixth is now impossible) it’s nice to see a scenario where the Mets end up with Choo while staying within a reasonable budget. Of course “reasonable” and “what I expect to actually happen” are two different things. Recently, Sandy Alderson stated that he did not expect to sign anyone to a $100 million contract.

This fits in well with an earlier MetsBlog update in which Andy Martino is quoted as saying that the Mets are more interested in Curtis Granderson than Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury. Each of these three outfielders will require surrendering a draft pick so they are equal in that respect. Additionally, all would play an outfield corner unless Juan Lagares was included in a deal. The ability to play a corner definitely helps Choo and probably helps Granderson, too.

All three have had recent injury problems. Choo played a full season in 2013 and Ellsbury logged 134 games and 636 PA. Granderson was limited to 61 games last year. In addition to having the most-recent injury problems, Granderson is also the oldest of the three players under consideration here.

Let’s take a look at the last five years, focusing on fWAR:

Ellsbury – 2.1, (-0.2), 9.1, 1.4, 5.8
Granderson – 2.6, 3.5, 6.7, 2.3, 1.4
Choo – 4.8, 5.9, 1.3, 2.4, 5.2

Ellsbury was injured in both 2010 and 2012 and has been all over the map in the three years he’s been healthy. Granderson was injured in 2013 and was a 2.5 to 3.5 fWAR player except for 2011. Choo was hurt in 2011 but was very consistent production-wise in ’09, ’10 and ’13.

Which one of these three should the Mets target? The only reason to prefer Granderson is if you believe his age and recent injury will keep his demands to a shorter-term contract at a lower annual rate. There’s something to be said for buying low on a player but is that really the path to take when you are investing heavily in the free agent market for the first time in years?

Of course, it remains to be seen how heavily the Mets invest in the free agent market. The conventional wisdom is that the Mets will have $30 to $40 million to spend on new acquisitions this year. If given a chance, bet the under on that amount. The idea that ownership is going to reinvest all of the money coming off the books back into payroll seems optimistic.

There’s a game being played on the field and there are two other games being played by ownership. The first is trying to remain in control of the team by refinancing existing debts to due dates further down the road. The Wilpons so far have been very successful with this game. The other – although related – money game going on is to see how little they can invest in payroll without incurring an open fan revolt.

The Mets could stomach a $100 million contract with David Wright because they calculated that to let him walk would be suicidal. Now they’re calculating that the fan base will be okay if they pass on the upper level of free agent talent due to money concerns. They can point out the big dollar contracts that failed because there are plenty of them.

But there’s nothing magical about the $100 million contracts. There are no shortages of deals for a lesser amount that have blown up on clubs. Neither the Luis Castillo nor Oliver Perez deals are recalled fondly, even though the two combined were for far less than $100 million. But ownership is betting they can win a PR war with the big round number.

This gives them a built-in excuse not to chase the best free agents available. And then they can say they were outbid for the next class of available players. Is this overly cynical? Perhaps but let’s see how the next few months play out before passing final judgment.

Even if the Mets do acquire a second-tier FA like Granderson – wouldn’t you rather that they step to the plate and at least try to get the best players? It’s fine to pass on Robinson Cano since second base is not a position of need. But when there are two options for a leadoff-hitting outfielder and you remove yourself from the bidding before it even begins – it just seems counter-productive.

The idea is to win. There’s no trophy given out for the team that has the lowest dollar-to-win ratio. This does not mean to throw discretion out the window. No one is suggesting to sign Choo for 5/$150 or Ellsbury to 10/$200. There’s a point where it makes no sense to continue bidding on a player. But the arbitrary $100 million figure is PR and nothing more.

Ownership is under no obligation to announce its spending plans in any way, shape or form. However, they are always at risk of alienating their fan base when it comes to how they handle this particular issue. The Wilpons have made it clear they think their best chance of retaining the most fans is to mislead, obfuscate and outright lie about their ability to maintain certain levels of payroll.

The old myth is that you cannot rebuild in New York. That’s always rang hollow to me. Everyone has to rebuild at some point and you can win more loyalty with the truth than with lies. Everyone understood when Donnie Walsh stripped down the Knicks in an effort to get LeBron James. That James signed elsewhere is beside the point. There’s no benefit to being the #7 or #8 seed in the NBA playoffs – it just means you’re on the treadmill of mediocrity. The vast majority of fans understand this.

There’s also no value in winning 70-80 games in MLB. But that’s where the Sandy Alderson-era Mets find themselves. They either need to spend to get better or go the route of the Houston Astros and blow it up and start from scratch. Signing David Wright – along with the pitching talent the Mets possess – made it clear which direction the franchise should go.

If the Mets truly have $30 million or more to spend on payroll, then they should go out and spend it to maximize the wins for the 2014 club and not worry about how much they spend per win. And if they don’t have the money, they should be honest and say that it needs to go to pay off debts. The fan base will understand that, too.

44 comments for “The Mets and $100 million contracts

  1. November 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Go and purchase the $25 game called Baseball Mogul.

    It will allow you to run the Mets off-season if you care for simulation.

    Your time will magically vanish… be warned.

    • Jerry Grote
      November 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      too late … good game, but has the propensity to absorb all CPU cycles and crash a bit. Otherwise, great … especially historical.

      Love taking over the 85 Mets.

  2. 3doza33
    November 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Yuck!! No thank u to any of that!! Yuck!!!!!!!

  3. Name
    November 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    If they wanted to make it realistic as possible(although it would probably take the fun out of most of the exercise), they should have limited the amount of trades available.

    I took a look back at the 11-12 offseason where I found 10 trades that included a “major-league regular” (being generous for some players) and 15 trades in 12-13. So on average, a GM makes One trade that includes a “major-league regular” per offseason.

    That stat should also limit what we should expect Alderson to do in the offseason as well. It could very well be that Davis-Aoki is the only big trade we see the offseason, and we shouldn’t complain that Alderson wasn’t active enough if that is the case.

    • November 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      That’s interesting stuff – thanks for checking the numbers.

      It just points out the risk-averse nature of most GMs. Perhaps a real “Moneyball” GM would look to take advantage of a market inefficiency by executing more trades?

      • Name
        November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

        I think there are a couple factors, but off the top of my head it may because that there just isn’t that big of a pool of good pieces who are deemed “tradeable” at any given point which is mostly determined by contract status.
        A team isn’t going to trade a top prospect who is still years away from hitting Free Agency or a young player making reasonable money. Likewise, a team isn’t likely to trade a player who they just signed in free agency or for someone they just traded for. Also, teams that are expected to contend aren’t likely to trade unless it helps them immediately.
        There are probably more restrictions I missed, but those who are left are probably within 2 years of hitting free agency or players whose contracts/salaries are burdens to the team and want to dismantle/use it elsewhere.

        Also, legacy may be another factor why GM’s aren’t fond of trading. In hindsight, there is always usually a “winner” and “loser”. No GM wants to branded as a loser.

  4. TexasGusCC
    November 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Brian, are those $5 dollar bills? Please redo your stacks.

  5. Sean Flattery
    November 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I don’t want Dan Uggla anywhere near the Mets. Any team that pays Choo $20 million per for 7 years will be disappointed, especially when they see him hit against lefties.

    I don’t see any of those trades improving the Mets, but I’m glad to see they’re less crazy than NYDN’s John Harper had the other day

  6. Steve S.
    November 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Sorry, but if the Wilpons “don’t have the money, … [and are ] honest and say that it needs to go to pay off debts, the fan base will [NOT} understand that….” They will attend fewer, if any, games, watch the Mets less on TV, and demand that the team be sold!

    • November 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      So, if they lie and tell you money’s not an issue (and spend X amount on payroll) fans will happily go to the games. But if they tell you the truth and spend the same X amount on payroll, fans will quit going?

      • Steve S.
        November 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm

        It doesn’t matter if they suddenly become “honest” with us. They need to spend appropriately to justify their ownership of a NYC team. IF they can’t, they need to leave….

  7. steevy
    November 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I’m glad Byrd signed elsewhere,I very much doubt he comes close to duplicating his 2013 season.Probably be out of baseball in two years.

  8. Julian McCarthy
    November 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    At this point, if Duda and/or Davis is traded to the American League I will be happy-no matter the return

  9. Jim OMalley
    November 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    New motto: The Mets need to G.R.O.W.! (Get Rid Of Wilpon!).

  10. norme
    November 12, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    To say that Fred Wilpon would lie shocks me.
    This is the man who attempted to pass off his son as a talented baseball player.
    This is the man who stabbed Nelson Doubleday in the back.
    This is the savvy business man who painted himself as naive about finances in the Madoff affair.
    How can you possibly think this man would “mislead, obfuscate and outright lie” to Mets fans?

  11. November 13, 2013 at 1:49 am

    let’s go sign Granderson because he’s the most affordable?! Wow! I thought the idea in free agency was to sign the best player who would provide your team with the best chance of becoming a consistent winner. I refuse to drink the Wilpons’ kool-aid. If Choo is the best option for improving your team then sign the guy. Look at the potential endorsement opportunities Choo can have here in New York. I keep saying it. If the Mets go out and put together a patchwork of has-beens and reclamation projects for 2014 it]s time to BOYCOTT Citifield. It’s the only way to protest what is happening and have your voice truly heard. Why is the fan base being asked to be patient when it was the Wilpons inexcusable business practices that have this organization in the financial crisis that we see it in today and for the foreseeable future?

  12. James Preller
    November 13, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Nice post, Brian, as usual. When it comes to the fans “open revolt,” it can be argued that we are seeing it. Attendance was at 4 million in 2008 or 2009, last year it barely rose over 2 million. The fans are clearly expressing their dissatisfaction in the only way that matters. It’s not blog posts, strongly worded articles, or fans holding signs inside the stadium.

    The revolt is expressed in apathy, disinterest. And honestly, I don’t know how much more articulate the fans can be. Two million tickets gone within five years. What’s the revenue value of a fan inside the stadium? Concessions, jerseys, ticket? $50? Times two million?

    Too much of what the Wilpon-Alderson Mets have focused on has been cost-cutting, without an appreciation of generating revenue. They are broke, and therefore running the business the wrong way.

    Put it this way: If you owned the Mets, you had money and bought this struggling franchise, what would you do?

    • November 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

      Here are the team’s annual attendance figures since moving into Citi Field:

      09 – 3.154 million
      10 – 2.559
      11 – 2.378
      12 – 2.242
      13 – 2.135

      It’s a steady downward trend but the big damage has already come. Perhaps another big fall comes this year with no All-Star game tickets to sell.

      Edit: To answer your question, if I owned the team I would not lie to the fans about payroll expectations. I’d probably refuse to answer the question at the beginning of the offseason and then after the last FA I was interested in signed, I would talk openly about the budget and what we tried to do.

      • November 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

        No All-Star Game and no Matt Harvey.

      • James Preller
        November 13, 2013 at 10:26 am

        Brian, let me rephrase the question. If a new owner came in, and had the money to own a NY franchise, and you were that owner, how would you run the team?

        I mean to say: The way they are currently operating the team (for various, unclear fiscal reasons) is totally idiotic. It’s the last thing a new owner would do, go cheap.

        First thing, I’d raise payroll immediately. By a lot. Including SNY, the total package was recently estimated at $2 billion. And the team feeds SNY, while SNY feeds the team. Spending will not guarantee winning, but it would surely help, and it would guarantee relevency. You’d get people talking about the Mets again.

        The current business model does not play in NY. It will never play. NY is a huge marketplace, the opportunity to make big money here is almost limitless. In that sense, Omar was absolutely right about NY. He had the right business model, but the execution fell a little bit short. If they win the WS in 2006 — a swing away — then the story changes. And maybe more resources go into the 2007 season, and they make the playoffs. The $150 payroll is absolutely where this team should be at.

        And would, if I owned it.

        Now, about that loan . . .

        • November 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

          Sure, I would spend money but that’s not the scenario we find ourselves in.

          Current ownership plans to do whatever it takes to maintain control of the team. To do that, they have to go cheap in the short-term as long as nine-digit loans are due in the immediate horizon.

          Wilpon’s not going to sell unless the banks refuse to refinance his loans. The financial outlook for the team now is better than it was – going back any term since the Madoff allegations came to light. I don’t see how Wilpon won’t be able to refinance again.

          We can jump up and down and hold our breath and say that NY “deserves” owners who’ll spend $150 million plus. But the reality is that the Mets are going to have a sub-$100 million payroll for the foreseeable future as long as Wilpon owes the team.

          Our best hope was for a big settlement due immediately in the Madoff clawback suits. When that didn’t happen, Wilpon’s major obstacle for retaining the club was removed.

          I don’t blame the Wilpons for retaining control of the team. If I was in their shoes, I’d be fighting tooth and nail to hold onto it, too. But I would be honest about it.

          • Steve S.
            November 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

            I like the Freudian slip: “Wilpon owes the team.” LOL!

            Can’t disagree with any of what you said here, Brian. Too bad Selig didn’t force the Wilpons to sell though….

          • November 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

            I get what you are saying, this is reality. Understood.

            What I am saying is that it’s a failed business model for NYC. It doesn’t work.

            Expenditures : Revenue. That’s the balancing act. They’ve cut expenditures, but in the process killed revenue.

            It’s a store with nothing on the shelves. No one comes in to buy products, so they don’t restock. They just complain that no one comes in to buy the products.

            And: $2 billion dollar asset. Let me say that in my Austin Powers voice: “Two billion dollars.”

            • November 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm

              I don’t believe there’s only one way to skin a cat.

              I see no reason why what Tampa did wouldn’t work in NY. I wouldn’t relish all the bottom three finishes they had but how long has their success been now? Without looking it up I’m thinking its as long as the Mets’ run in the 80s.

              I think Alderson’s plan has been to build a team that first tastes success with a mid-market-type payroll and then ramp up spending. But I also think this is out of necessity as the owners are trying to stay afloat financially. To me, this whole “we have money but I choose not to spend it” is BS designed to cover for the owners.

    • Metsense
      November 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

      Well said James. It is foolhardy for any ownership to believe that every high priced free agent is going to work. Ownership has to budget in these expected losses and have reserve money to change course. They have to recognize talent, have an organizational plan, have money in reserve. The Wilpon’s don’t have the financial resources to do this. Losing 2 million fans and the revenue they generate is an indictment on the poor ownership of the Wilpon’s. 100M contracts should not be an obstacle with a sucessfully run big market franchise.

  13. November 13, 2013 at 8:10 am

    James you can’t put the blame on SA for the Wilpons misadventures in marketing. His hands are fiscally tied so he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. Only he knows what the budget is for next season. 2 million fans gone. And with it the revenue they would of brought in. Don’t you wish the Wilpons ran the Mets the same way Madoff ran his Ponzi scheme on them? They truly don’t deserve to be the owners of the New York Mets. Can someone just put a For Sale sign on Citifield? james if the Mets had an owner like the Dodgers currently have the payroll for next season would be 125-150 million dollars.

    • James Preller
      November 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Pete, yes, you are right about assigning blame to Sandy. But it’s the Terry Collins problem, nothing he does is ever — ever, ever — his fault. Sandy’s job is, I guess, to take the bullets. That said, he’s disingenuous. There have been mistakes, and I think misreading the NY marketplace has been one of them. For example, he didn’t have to draft guys out of high school, looking 4-5 years down the road. He needed to man up with Jose Reyes and realize the situation, that he was never going to get signed, and trade him 2 months into the job. Or, hey, doing what the Marlins did: sign him, backload it, trade him down the road. Maybe he misread the tea leaves on the new CBA? Anyway, not looking to kill Sandy here, just that it is fair to look at his job critically.

      • Chris F
        November 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm

        I agree he needs to be fairly assessed on the decisions he makes as GM. As far as reading the NY market etc, the Wilpons and Buddy Boy, hand chose a penny pincher to save the team. He hasnt misread things as much as he was hired to do exactly what he has done. Addition by subtraction. We are now at the juncture where that part of the plan no longer is in play. His “addition by addition” strategy for players seems to be short of the mark, as does his management personnel choices (TC and his crew of zeros all returning). I am not convinced they draft very well and the FA market has been mostly a big bust. I will say that trades have been better, but his best work has come from trading genuine talent (RA, Beltran) for minor leaguers, whose talent was recognized by other teams scouting. So, my overall score is that he’s not done very well from a fans perspective…or from a baseball perspective. However, he’s been the perfect GM to save the team for the owners, and so, has been the perfect hire because that is entirely their goal.

        The differences between Illich/Dombrowski and Henry/Lucchino/Cherington and Wilpon/Alderson are night and day.

        • Jerry Grote
          November 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

          bingo … well put.

        • November 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

          Chris F, I think you are correct about everything you said here. I would just add that it could be that Sandy did not “get” the NY market in that he thought (maybe, this is a theory) that things weren’t going to be this bad. Maybe he believed the “3 Amigos” could work the margins and keep the team respectable. A Cowgill here, a Francisco there. Presto, 82-85 wins. In some ways, the Mets haven’t been that bad. 10th worst, 12th worst. Not the worst team in baseball, or even 5th worst. Maybe he thought it would sort of be okay in NY — and didn’t anticipate losing a million-plus fans. The complete loss of respect and confidence. Maybe he didn’t see that it was going to be this bad.

          Moreover, he pushed the Bay payments back. We still owe him $15 million in real money. They backloaded David Wright contract, pushing more debt into the future. So instead of a shorter, more painful period, Alderson opted for a semi-rebuild that was longer but not, he imagined, as painful. Today, Scott Boras is openly mocking the entire organization. Sandy has made so many jokes about this situation that now, it seems, we’ve become the punchline.

          All of that said: This is a winter of opportunity. We’ll see what happens and hope for the best.

  14. November 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

    It is sad but Sandy is a caretaker just like TC. The only difference Collins being appreciative of the opportunity to manage in the big leagues again is working for peanuts. That’s why you don’t even hear a rumor as to his salary for the next 2 years. I wonder how much influence did SA have in hiring TC? So much for the GM and manager being on the same page. The Mets are a truly dysfunctional family and should have their own reality show.

  15. November 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

    AS much as I liked Minaya he depleted the farm system. You need a balance of the two to have continued success. Can’t only rely on signing free agents year after year to fix any bad free agent signings. It becomes a vicious cycle. This off season will be either a turning point or the beginning of the end of the Wilpon era.

    • November 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

      I don’t agree with this.

      Check the farm system that Minaya inherited versus the one left behind for Alderson. Minaya took over at the conclusion of the 2004 season and here is BA’s Top 10 list published in December of 2004:

      1. Lastings Milledge, of
      2. Yusmeiro Petit, rhp
      3. Gaby Hernandez, rhp
      4. Ian Bladergroen, 1b
      5. Ambiorix Concepcion, of
      6. Alay Soler, rhp
      7. Shawn Bowman, 3b
      8. Victor Diaz, of
      9. Jesus Flores, c
      10. Matt Lindstrom, rhp

      Without doing the actual checking, I don’t think one player on that list put up a 2.0 fWAR season in the majors. That was a system devoid of talent. Meanwhile, Minaya left Alderson Matt Harvey, which is already more than he inherited. Here’s the BA list that published in December 2010:

      1. Jenrry Mejia, rhp
      2. Wilmer Flores, ss
      3. Cesar Puello, of
      4. Matt Harvey, rhp
      5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, of
      6. Reese Havens, 2b
      7. Lucas Duda, of/1b
      8. Fernando Martinez, of
      9. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3b
      10. Brad Holt, rhp

  16. November 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

    So if the farm system was in such bad shape when Minaya came aboard then his best course of action would of been to sign free agents knowing that there was no one he could bring up that would’ve made an impact on the team.

    • November 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Yes, Pete, he had to sign players. There was nobody in the pipeline. And by signing players, the idea was to make up for those lost picks by being aggressive on the international market. Omar said all the right things about the importance of the farm system. But it didn’t exactly work out as hoped. Draft and development is tough. Every team in baseball is trying to do it.

  17. Jerry Grote
    November 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    A lot of chatter here about the $150MM payroll, and how we aren’t spending enough. Let’s take a look at the last four years … 2010-2013. I’ll be looking at teams producing a payroll in the top four over that time period, which is the rough equivilant of where $150MM would place a team.

    I’d presume the idea here is to get to the playoffs. Including WC playoffs, you’ve got 32 teams in the playoffs. Only six teams were in the top four in payroll over that time period – and *only one team* made it to the World Series (BRS, 2013).

    OK, OK … so … wait a minute, playoffs is bullcrap. I’m concerned about creating a winning team and the only way you can do that is to spend a lot of money. Well … sorry, that doesn’t compute either. Let’s look at the top 8 teams every year, 2010-2013, in terms of winning percentage:

    2013 bos 173
    stl 110
    oak 55
    atl 83
    pit 63
    det 154
    lad 95
    cle 78 101.375

    2012 wsn 81
    cin 82
    nyy 197
    sfg 117
    oak 55
    atl 83
    tex 120
    bal 81 102

    2011 phil 172
    nyy 201
    tex 92
    mil 85
    det 105
    ari 53
    tbr 41
    stl 105 106.75

    2010 phil 141
    tbr 71
    nyy 206
    min 97
    sfg 97
    cin 72
    atl 84
    tex 55 102.875

    You can dispute the payroll numbers, I suppose. Whatever; there is absolutely no argument that the Atlanta Braves win with a payroll less than ours and have consistently for decades.

    So please, stop making this about payroll.

    • Jerry Grote
      November 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      formatting didn’t hold up.
      So the average payroll of all the top winning teams was 101.375 (2013), 102 (2012), 106.75 (2011) and 102.875 (2010).

      Basically the top teams are spending around $103 MM a year with a standard deviation of $43MM. The Mets have spent PLENTY enough to win over nearly THAT ENTIRE TIME FRAME.

      • November 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        So who is to blame? It’s not about payroll. It’s the obvious perception that the Mets are incapable of having a 100 million dollar payroll today, tomorrow or for the foreseeable future. All teams have a dead contract they would love to void. But the Mets play in the number one market in America and show a payroll comparable to that of the Minnesota Twins.

        • Jerry Grote
          November 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          I think its about management all the way. It started with Minaya, but SA and TC get the blame as well. Our medical staff. The people that go out and scout amateur talent.

          Bottom line is every year a team wins 85 games on a payroll about half our size. Every gd year. Don’t tell me we need to spend $150MM, or buy into the big contract deal.Show me the tier one free agency signing that has worked out, and I’ll show you six that were absolutely ridiculous.

          The goddamned Philadelphia Phillies just signed a NYC fan favorite, a guy with an easy 2 WAR, to a $16MM contract. And we’re looking at who? Chris Young, for pete’s sake. Yeah. Let’s jump over a $50 bill so we can save a dime.

          We have done less, with more, than any team in the last ten years.

          • November 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

            Just to come back one last time on this, Mr. Grote, I hear what you are saying. I respect your POV. But in the situation I presented — you are owner of these Mets, a team with a failing fan base, loss of revenue, fading viewership — the question is, what would you do? To me, the answer is to spend some money, bring in some exciting players, jump-start the organization. I certainly would plod along and hope these high school draft picks work out. I think the organization is in crisis. There’s no guarantee you get these fans back, especially the young ones.

            So I’m looking at the business of owning a NY franchise, and how I’d go about owning it. You look at the Dodgers, you look at the Nets, you look at the Tigers, etc. An owner with money comes in and uses those assets to turn around a failing business. In the process, you’re going to have some good years, too. From 2006-2008, that was nearly a run of 3 playoff appearances. That was a lot of days in 1st place, and a lot of exciting, crowded nights at Shea. It fell apart at the end, but that run was so tainted by the bad finishes, I think we fail to fully appreciate those teams: Beltran, Reyes, Wright, Delgado, etc.

            Down the road, if healthy, Matt Harvey is going to want to get paid. A monster amount. Zack Wheeler is going to want to get paid. Now we are looking at flipping Murphy because he might make $5.8 million and maybe we can get somebody to do close to that for less. Oh goodie.

    • November 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      I think these numbers make the case. Yes, there are outliers that help your averages. Teams that were so bad, for so long, that they drafted in the top 5 for several years in a row. Teams that didn’t sign anyone, and so on. That’s one possible path. Crater, draft, rise again. The Mets haven’t cratered enough. Nimmo, Cecchini? That’s been the prize?

      You don’t think this is at least partly about payroll, that’s fine. You are not alone. But I disagree. And again, as I said up top, revenue matters. Fan interest matters. Running a business and losing nearly half of the paying attendance over 6 seasons is not a good thing. Payroll may not guarantee you a spot in the playoffs, but it is going to help. Look at the Dodgers. 29 consecutive sold out games this year. From a business standpoint, in NYC, I believe that’s the better model than the Oakland way because the market opportunities are so huge.

  18. Jerry Grote
    November 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm
  19. Name
    November 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Speaking of 100 million dollar contracts, is anyone else following the comedy known as Ervin Santana? He’s asking 5/124 million… and his agent isn’t even Boras. I hope his agent understands that in America we deal with dollars and not yen.

  20. November 14, 2013 at 1:43 am

    No pun intended Jerry? For Pete’s sake? The team can be successful with a 100 million dollar payroll. I’ll five you that. Today for the Mets it’s a cycle with players approaching Arbitration where to invest the money. So now the team doesn’t have to worry about high priced free agent pitchers since the team appears to have enough in the farm system to be competitive for now. So signing 1 impact outfielder and trading for another should solve their problems with what they have as of today. Sign a veteran catcher as back up. Sign Peralta to play shortstop. Move Tejada to second base. Platoon Duda/Satin at first. If Hart isn’t signed offer him a minor league contract(doubt that will happen). Again if no takers, sign Harang and/or Dice-k to minimum salaries. Even when Harvey hopefully returns in 2014 the Mets will probably limit his innings for the year. Something to keep in the back of our minds.

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