Fred Wilpon Speaks On Payroll, Finances, Says Reyes Was A Baseball Decision

An article by posted on February 27, 2012

Fred Wilpon met with reporters this morning and took questions for about 20 minutes without ducking or avoiding any of them. Adam Rubin has the entire transcript, but here’s a few things that caught my attention:

You cut your payroll dramatically. How concerned should Mets fans be about the future and viability of you owning this franchise?

“Well, they shouldn’t be concerned about us owning the franchise, because we intend to own the franchise for a very long time. Whether they’re happy about that right now or not, I don’t know. Don’t forget, we cut a lot of payroll that wasn’t producing. If you look at the payroll now, it’s fluid. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what Sandy is going to do. Many of the people that weren’t producing are not here now. Terry just said, yeah, we didn’t make many major moves that Sandy and Terry wanted to make, but we’re pretty satisfied with some of the people that were coming back from injury, and pretty satisfied with some of the people whose career years were not great last year and they weren’t satisfied. They think they have a pretty good team. So do I.”

There’s been a lot of talk about David Wright’s future. Is your intention to try to lock him up and keep him here for good?

“My intention is always to follow what the baseball people [say]. In spite of what you all used to say that we were running the baseball department, Sandy Alderson has a great feel for this. So does Terry. And if it works out, I would be thrilled. I think there’s no finer guy. He’s just a very fine young man. Any of us who are old enough to have him as a son would be proud to have him as a son.”

When can you get payroll back to where it was a few years ago and where you can spend for big free agents?

“Well, that’s Sandy view. Sandy, he was the architect when he came in of saying, ‘I want to do some things, I want to have some flexibility and I want to have flexibility in the four or five areas that you can have flexibility in.’ And that’s what he’s doing. I don’t know whether there’s someone out there that he might want. I don’t remember a time that we’ve turned down when the general manager and the manager wanted certain people. Look at our history. For a long period of time, some of it wasn’t well-invested. And you criticized us for that, rightfully. So now you have a right to say, ‘OK, you’d like seven more stars here.’ But if some of these guys become stars then …”

Isn’t Sandy acting within your parameters though? Wouldn’t he have treated Jose Reyes differently, or pursued more high-end free agents, if the payroll was set higher?

“Listen, we certainly act in certain broad parameters. But the parameters always change. I think, I’m not sure of this, but I think Sandy made an offer of around $100 million that Jose could have earned if he were healthy. But Jose did what was best for Jose. Jose is a very nice young man and a very good player and we wish him well. I think we’ve got a very nice young player who will play shortstop this year.”

Is it fair to say the contract Reyes got from Miami was more or less a baseball decision as opposed to having anything to do with team finances?

“It was clearly a baseball decision. Are we a little leery of six-year, seven-year, eight-year contracts? Yes. Is Sandy leery of it? You bet. I’m big-time leery of it. So, listen, others have done it. I don’t want to criticize anybody else whose done something different. We did different also, and we were burned. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some player in the future that we think we would do something with longer term, but the history has not been very good.”

Read the rest of this at ESPN New York.

Much of what was said goes against what has been reported and validates much of what I’ve been saying now for a very long time.

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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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