Last week I shared an email from Jeff Wilpon that said he would aggressively do whatever it takes to win a championship in 2010.
Today, he expanded a little more on that. First let me share his opening remarks before he fielded a few questions.
Fred, Saul and I would like to thank Mets fans for supporting the team through this painful, disappointing season. Like all fans, we are extremely unhappy with our results, both on and off the field, which were totally unacceptable. Baseball is a results business and we play in a results town. We demand better, we expect better and our fans deserve better. Ownership is dedicated to delivering a championship-caliber team. We have significant challenges ahead. Omar and Jerry must step up, and we are confident they will.
Is there a set payroll figure for next year?
“It’s what Omar needs. There’s no firm number that we have right now. We haven’t even gone through budgets yet. We’re just starting.”
Doesn’t payroll have to go down given lack of fan enthusiasm going into next year?
“We’d like to create the enthusiasm. I think our plan and Omar’s plan and the different ways he has to get there, through trades and free agents, is to create the excitement for our fans. I think with the reduction in ticket prices and the ability for more fans to be here, we’re hoping that happens. And what the payroll is, we didn’t necessarily spend well with $147 million this year, so I don’t want to say what it’s going to be. Last year we started the offseason with a $135 million payroll. It went up to $147 [million]. We didn’t have that as a plan.”
Doesn’t payroll have to go down though?
“No, it doesn’t have to, because the revenue is not necessarily less. If we do a good job of putting a product on the field, the fans will come back, and we’ll have the proper revenue to support.”
As I wrote last week, it could very well be that all those Madoff stories were overblown. Jeff Wilpon and other front office people have insisted all along that the Madoff situation would have absolutely no bearing on the day to day operations of the Mets.
I’m still giving them the benefit of the doubt at least until we see how they proceed this off season. They genuinely seem committed to bringing a championship to Flushing next season. Of course that doesn’t mean that they will go about it the right way, but their heart is in the right place.
I found it telling that he acknowledged that they did not spend the $147 million dollars well, and I bet Omar Minaya got an earful about that. I would expect Minaya to be on a short leash and that any major signings will have to be acceptable to a few other people before they sign off on it. It should have been that way all along.
Anyway, what’s passed is past, and we need to look ahead to a new and hopefully a more healthier and productive season in 2010.