Wilpons May Get Fan Outrage If They Cut Payroll

An article by posted on September 21, 2009

Last week, ESPN’s Andrew Marchand posted the following on his Twitter account:

An associate of the Wilpons tells me that the only way to get them to spend this offseason is with public pressure and that might not work.

Jon Heyman of SI.com also adds this in one of his reports last week:

“Reports have suggested the Mets plan to cut from an NL-high $145 million payroll, but even a small reduction might be a tough sell in their second season in Citi Field. The guess here is the payroll stays about the same. Mets people already are discussing big-name free agent targets – though, of course, that doesn’t guarantee they’ll actually sign any of the big ones.”

I’ve been very concerned about much of the news I’ve been reading that suggests that the Mets will cut payroll this season. With the departures of Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado and J.J. Putz among others, the Mets are expected to still have $25-30 million they could spend after raises and arbitration awards.

I fear that the Mets may only allow Omar Minaya $5-7 million of that amount to fill the remaining roster spots going into the 2010 season. Obviously that will not get the Mets any quality players that they absolutely need to succeed.

If Minaya is forced to reduce payroll to $125 million from $149 million, he may have to trade a high salaried player to fill key spots. This might put K-Rod ($12 MM) and Beltran ($18.5 MM) in trade discussions, although ultimately I believe they will still be Mets in 2010. It is something to think about though.

Marchand might be right about the fan base putting pressure on the Wilpons not to cut payroll. As Heyman also points out, cutting payroll might be a tough sell to Mets fans, and the Wilpons better tread carefully on this issue.

Unless the Mets add a quality starter and bat to the current mix, the fans won’t flock to Citi Field as much as they did in it’s inaugural season.

I hope we’re not on the precipice of those past Mets periods where only a few thousand fans showed up for the games, but it could happen if the Wilpons are foolish enough to avoid adding the quality players the Mets need to contend for the division next season.

Atlanta, Philadelphia and even Florida will have formidable rotations next season, and the Mets need a number two starter to compliment Santana just to keep up with them. They also need to add a thumper in the middle of their lineup. The NL East will finish the season with 11 players who had 25 or more homeruns, and the Mets will be extremely luck to have one player finish with 11 or 12.

The Wilpons and their GM Omar Minaya (who they now have on a very short leash), better do the right thing this off season or I fear there will be a backlash such as the organization has never seen before.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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