Fred WilponGrinchWe were very good this year. We came out to Citi Field in increasing numbers and spent our hard-earned money on $10 cans of Budweiser and $6 hot dogs. We boosted TV ratings on SNY and purchased every playoff round’s unique $30 t-shirt. Yet instead of getting the speedy leadoff hitter (Denard Span or Dexter Fowler) or run producer (Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton) the fan base is crying out for and that this team so obviously needs, we got a bunch of replacement level players on the cheap to patch holes.  To quote Clark Griswold, “Well if this isn’t the biggest bag over the head, punch in the face I ever got…”

Owner Fred Wilpon has said that our meager payroll, kept at levels closer to a small market team than a major market franchise since the Bernie Madoff scandal broke, would increase as attendance and revenue climbed. General Manager Sandy Alderson has echoed these sentiments. Not counting the playoffs, the Mets finished 12th in Major League Baseball in attendance averaging nearly 32,000 fans per home game. Team payroll ranked 21st. The teams ranked lower in payroll are either rebuilding (Braves, Phillies) or averaged 25,000 fans or less per game (Marlins, Astros, Indians, A’s, Rays, Diamondbacks). The only exception is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who don’t have a huge cable TV deal and charge half as much for tickets and concessions in a small market.

The Mets’ extended playoff run gifted ownership an estimated $45 million windfall. The departure of free agents Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, and midyear additions Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, plus Michael Cuddyer’s surprise retirement shaved $40 million off the payroll.  Tack on the savings on Bartolo Colon’s reduced contract, Jennry Mejia’s PED suspension, and the release of backups Anthony Recker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and that number goes up to $45 million. Given the savings and playoff windfall, it’s easy to see why Mets fans were optimistic we’d either bring back Cespedes or sign another big bat free agent.

Cubs fans who watched their slugging young team make the playoffs but come up short due to lack of pitching and too many strikeouts, went all in this offseason, signing Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey, Trevor Cahill and bolstering the bullpen with Rex Brothers and a trade for Adam Warren. Giants fans, who have three recent World Series trophies to brag about, just missed the playoffs last year and are using their payroll savings from free agent departures to significantly improve their team’s chances in 2016. Thus far, they’ve added pitchers Jeff Samardjiza and Johnny Cueto and are looking to sign either Alex Gordon, Upton or Cespedes to take over left field.

The Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Tigers and Orioles are all opening their checkbooks this offseason as well. Meanwhile the stingy Mets have settled on average veteran players like Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jerry Blevins, Bartolo Colon and now Alejandro de Aza. Nobody is paying to see these guys play (okay, maybe to see big sexy’s helmet fly off in the batter’s box) and none of them is a game changer.

We’ve been blessed with an unbelievably good, young pitching staff that will be affordable for two or three years. We have a real chance to go for it. Instead ownership is using additional revenue and savings to pay down debts as Howard Megdal pointed out earlier this week. Smart owners invest in their franchise, capitalize on opportunity and reward their fans. We deserve better.

24 comments on “Grinch Wilpon is giving us coal in our stockings

  • mike cala

    I hate the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson. They dismantled our team and removed some of our favorite players. Once Harvey is gone there will be no reason to watch them at all!

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post as it is a violation of our Comment Policy.

    • Herb G

      Mike, is this post a put-on? I hate cry babies. Sandy Alderson came in with a plan when the Mets were in the pits with severe financial constraints, and built us a World Series team. He continues to follow the plan this off season. The team we have now is considerably better than the team we took into 2015. Opening day payroll, at about $112 – $114 million, will be about $10 million higher than last year, and will have to rise significantly, to over $150 million in the next 2 – 3 years.

      Our young core has already entered arbitration and will accelerate in the coming years. We will want to keep at least 3 of the 5 Aces, d’Arnaud, Conforto, and Flores. These guys will get big arbitration salaries. We will also proably want to keep non-core, but important cogs, like Gilmartin, Robles, and Plawecki, and with the salaries escalating like they are, they won’t be cheap either. The Wilpons understand this and if we are to have a winning team year after year, payroll will have to increase gradually. We can’t give it away all in one fell swoop. So be patient and you will be rewarded.

      • Matty Mets

        Herb G – glad there are optimists among us and hope you’re right. Good news is we’re in a pretty week division.

  • Larry Smith

    It really is a disgrace to the sport that the Wilpons are permitted to carry such a comparatively low payroll given the revenue stream the team creates. I don’t blame Alderson all that much. He has been told to field a team on $105 million and his alternatives are to resign or do just that. He’s opted to do it to the best of his ability. The De Aza signing can certainly be questioned but given the limits on payroll one can assume Alderson couldn’t find anything better in his price range.
    At least in politics we get to occasionally vote the bums out. The bums who own the Mets could be there forever.

  • Joe Gomes

    The 2 things I hate most about the Mets.
    1. The Wilpons
    2. Overrated GM who always seems to get garbage players with few exceptions.

    All this team needed to do was fix the BP, and bring back Murphy and Cespedes. That was it. Instead they signed Cabrera, who is marginally better than Flores, Walker who has a better glove but is probably not as clutch. de Aza? that’s like a bad joke which Sandy is guilty off every year. 5M+ for a player that was released last year. Blevins who pitched little last year instead of getting someone like Sipp.

    Loser organization from the Wilpons on down to the imbecile in the dugout.

    • ron

      you’re absolutely right. if not for the fluke august, we wouldn’t have anything. …we really needed joe maddon. he would have won us the series, and brought in guy like zobrist and heyward… but hey, luckily the wilpons have some well placed friends.

  • James Preller

    Just a note on Daniel Murphy: That guy has a burning desire to win. The Nationals really needed the life that he’s about to inject into that team.

    I really didn’t want to face him 18 times next year.

    • Chris F

      As long as we hit the ball to 2B, we will be ok.

      • Met Fanatic

        That is a cheap shot. Bet you stayed up all night thinking of that one liner. Murphy will probably play 3rd base with the Nats so what is your point.

        • Chris F

          Even better, murph is a terrible 3b. He has a weak arm, has to double or triple pump just to throw off the mark, and has foot speed like he’s playing in concrete. Hit the ball to third and we will be fine.

  • James Preller

    You know, in some ways, I’m over the Wilpons. My focus is more on how Sandy spent the money.

    I think it’s all defensible, except for de Aza, if it’s true that he really can’t field.

    But I was hoping for more than “defensible.” Felt going into the offseason that CF and bullpen were two critical areas.

    I think Walker is solid and so is the new SS.

    Still must get RH bats in Cuddyer role, which I think they will do, and can do, for under $2 million. I think they are going to bring Clippard back, too, or go with someone cheaper.

    In the end, there was never going to be a big contract. One goal has been to avoid commitments beyond a year or two. He knows that he’s going to trade Harvey next winter (or Wheeler in July — or both), and wants the roster relatively wide open.

    The other approach is solid across the board — no more Campbells and Munos and Kirkkkkks. That’s valid.

    I’m afraid that a lot hinges on David Wright, who I think will be terrible. He can’t throw overhand!

    Still, with this staff and a workmanlike roster, they have a chance to win 90-95 games. Hopefully that’s enough to win the Division. The idea of a one-and-done “play in” game would be a cruel comedown.

    In the end, armed with the best starting staff in baseball, the Mets were ready to put together a brilliant, dominant, 100-win season with only a few adjustments. As always, the commitment isn’t to excellence. But, yeah, they’ve got a shot.

    • TexasGusCC

      James, I agree on the “how” they spent their money front. I would be happier with Gordon in RF and Granny in CF and Verrett, Gilmartin, Montero than I am with de Aza and colon. That $13MM would have gotten us a 4 WAR player, who could have easily been traded in a couple of years for a couple of good prospects. Instead, we have two clowns that will keep everyone loose. Yippee.

      A lineup that had Gordon in the middle is better than a lineup that has da Aza at the top.

      • Matty Mets

        TexasGus, i love Gordon but we have two lefty corner outfielders. Even if the plan is to plug holes and wait for the trade deadline, we should have ponyed up the cash for Gerardo Parra, Denard Span, or Dexter Fowler. I’d have even prefered Austin Jackson to deAza.

    • Metsense

      +1 James Preller. I have very similar thoughts.

  • John C

    Like everyone else on this thread, I can’t stand the Wilpons either. I’m so sick of them, and can only hope that MLB steps in and forces them to sell.

  • BK

    The Wilpons are holding this team back. The worst thing an owner can do.

  • Matty Mets

    signing a replacement level OF with so many quality outfielders available was really peeing in our punch bowl. If they really think the FAs are not worth the money then make a trade. The defending penant champs are going to trot out a lineup of curtis granderson, 2 guys who cant stay healthy, 3 replacement level players, a still unproven maybe future star and the league’s streakiest hitter.

    • TexasGusCC

      Third place?

  • Rich

    Im not happy either and I hate the Wilpons as much as anyone. But I don’t think they are done. This group of FAs are not right for us. Span would be but the core injuries he had last year scare me considering hes 31 years old and worse a Boras client. No thanks. I think we’ll see a trade for a bat at some point before spring training.

  • royhobbs7

    We have a window of one or two years (until 2017) at most where we can still maintain our young pitching studs. Accordingly, this was the year to strike if we were going to sign a player to a multiyear contract. However, the Wilpons again decided to ignore the present fortunes of this team to make it function optimally (by signing a top tier FA OFer or at least a competent left-handed leadoff hitter). However, they once again spit-the-bit and did not take a look at the near future opportunity which presents itself for 2016 (in winning the NL East).
    With our young stud pitchers approaching free agency in the next several years, I do not think that we will have this same opportunity after 2017 for quite awhile (as it is rare to find as talented a starting pitching staff as we presently possess).

  • Metsense

    The Megdel article is a must read for Met fans. It is the stark reality of the life of a Met fan under the Wilpon’s ownership in the future.
    Joel Sherman’s Billion Dollar Rotation article is the reality of the near future. The Mets simply can’t afford this rotation in the future under the Wilpon’s.
    The Wilpon’s are not going away. They like owning the team, are turning a profit and just went to the World Series with a strong possibility of postseason play for the next few years.
    The Met/Wilpon philosophy should be to trade off the starting pitching when the timing is right in “RA Dickey like” trades. The influx of high end prospects from this type of trade should be the pipeline to keep the franchise playoff competitive for years to come. The minor league system has to remain strong and replenished. It is the only way that the Wilpon’s can afford to compete. High cost, long term contracts should be avoided because there is not enough money to risk having any sunk cost contracts. The Mets should fill in their roster holes with short term contracts. The Wilpon’s can’t afford this team but we are stuck with them. I feel cheated as a fan because their is such a potential for so much more.

  • TexasGusCC
    • Matty Mets

      He’s 16 and no one has seen hom play since the summer of 2014 when whe was, what, 14 or 15, and they’re comparing him to Willie Mays?! These Cuban baseball promoters are like Don King.

  • Patrick h 57

    The cheapons continue to laugh their collective way to the bank. I said that they would do nothing until 2017, when the statute on the Madoff scam runs out, and so far…during the Cespedes run last summer[and, lets face it, without him they are a .500,at best] i said to my bride, the cheapons will use the extra money generated for nothing. they will not re-sign cespedes, nor will they pursue anyone. they will find some third rate player,cheap…sigh…of course when you are bros with the former owner/commissioner and his hand picked lackey , well , who has it better than you. I know people who taught young cheapon in school. He was , as is, then as well as now. Think of how bad it could get…for all the griping about Alderson , he does a great deal with nothing. this team is destined for a possible80 win season.possible…wait til last year

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