Yesterday, I was at the hospital all day getting treated, when I heard and read about Fred Wilpon’s announcement to reporters at St. Lucie. I quickly posted a little bit of what he had to say from my phone with the intention of expanding on it the next day (today).
I came home this morning to an inbox full of emails regarding what the Mets owner had to say, with a few of them asking me for my take on the news. There was one question that seemed to resonate the most. So let me address some of that here…
I can sum up the main concern with many of my readers like this:
If what Fred said is true, where is the spending? Where is the proof?
The short answer is, ask Sandy?
Sandy Alderson has already said on at least two occasions officially this Winter, that his payroll budget was higher than last year and that the reason for not spending was his and not Fred’s.
Considering how often Sandy makes claims and assertions that often fail to pass muster in the two-plus years he’s been here, I can certainly understand your hesitation in believing anything he has to say. But in this one particular case, what does he have to gain by taking the bullet for Fred?
The other issue is that with all of the external evidence that has surfaced in the past three months alone, any rational person would have no problem taking Fred Wilpon at face value when he reiterated that all of his financial troubles are “now in the rear-view mirror”.
You can ignore what the evidence says all you want, but that doesn’t change the historical record or make you right.
These assertions by the Mets owner are not just backed by words alone, but they are accompanied by actions. There is a trail of breadcrumbs to follow and there always has been if only you were looking in the right places.
Bringing back the GCL team, giving Wright the richest deal in team history, the refinanced SNY loan, money pouring in from Madoff settlement that has dropped their net liability… These are not all fabrications, they are factual, tangible and very real.
Wilpon said as clear as day in his press conference that Sandy Alderson will have the wherewithal to bring payroll back to Omar Minaya levels if he saw fit.
But the questions and reactions I’m seeing here on this thread and in the email I’ve received is mostly:
Prove it. Show us the money. Why does our outfield suck?
So ask yourselves, what kind of spending did you want to see?
The same people I see complaining or raising skepticism are also the same people who say they were glad Alderson didn’t give Bourn that fifth year… The same people who were glad we didn’t bring back Hairston… The same people who would have balked at Josh Hamilton, spurned B.J. Upton, and choked on Zack Greinke…
“Alderson made the right move.” Isn’t that the new Mets meme?
When Alderson first took over the Mets, one of the first things he told us was that even if he could spend as much as $145-$50 million a year on payroll, he wouldn’t.
It was his opinion that those “Omar Minaya levels” were too excessive for him and he saw no reason why a team shouldn’t be able to win consistently with a payroll of around $100 million.
He said it, not me. That’s his philosophy, not mine.
So this evidence you are looking for may not come in the way you expect – that is with some sort of exorbitant spending spree. That’s not what Sandy Alderson does… That’s not who Sandy Alderson is…
So don’t go asking Fred to prove what he said. Instead ask Sandy to prove it because it’s only in his power to do so. He has a payroll budget and it’s up to him to use all of it, or 90% of it, or 50% of it.
So far, we’ve seen many instances of players the Mets were in on this offseason, but then were slammed out simply because Sandy refused to go the extra yard and spend the extra dollars.
He himself admitted as much on Scott Hairston during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN yesterday.
So the question you have to ask yourself is do you want to spend for spending’s sake?
Is that what you want Sandy to do, just so you can validate what owner Fred Wilpon said?
Well if that is your Litmus test than I’m sorry to disappoint you. The progenitor of Moneyball principles is not the GM for you if you’re looking to go back to $150 million dollar payrolls, or even $125 million dollar payrolls.
Additionally, no matter what the Mets owner says, there are those who will always feel comfortable sitting on their “Mets Are Broke” pots. They are comfortable on their pots and have no desire to put down their magazines, get up from their pots, and flush. There’s nothing I or anyone else can say to convince those few – who are now in the minority.
What was once my one-man army now has tens of thousands of Mets fans in it now. Glad to have you on board.
I’ve maintained from day one that the Wilpons were travailing through choppy financial waters. But I always said there was nothing to suggest imminent bankruptcy as some were screaming from their soap boxes.
There were far too many very vested and interested parties that would never have allowed the Wilpons to sink, under any circumstances. That has always been my stance on this, and that’s exactly what happened.
So you want to see the Mets spend and show their big market muscle?
That ain’t happening and it has more to do with Sandy than it does Fred.
As the Mets GM said, “blame me”.
Original Post 2/13
New York Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon said his family is finally past their financial debt problems and that general manager Sandy Alderson has the financial flexibility to make major free-agent signings in upcoming offseasons.
Reasons for improved financial stability is the result of the rebound of real estate, his primary business, as well as stock-market gains and SNY, in which the family owns a majority stake, thriving.
“It’s all in the rear-view mirror,” Wilpon said about past financial woes Wednesday, after arriving at the team’s spring-training complex. “… The family is in great shape. The family really is in great shape. Sometimes luck is the residue of design.”