Mets Merized Online » Bernie Madoff http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 24 Jan 2017 13:00:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 It’s Bobby-Bo Day Again http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/its-bobby-bo-day-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/its-bobby-bo-day-again.html/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:10:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=185971 bobby-bonilla-steve-phillips-bobby-valentine-mets

It’s July 1st, not nearly as significant a day as July 4th, unless of course your name is Bobby Bonilla. It’s time for the Mets to cut that annual payroll check in the amount of $1,193,248.20 for their two-time former outfielder.

It’s all part of the agreement the Mets made to pay Bonilla that $1.2 million sum annually on July 1 for 25 years rather than the $5.9 million he was owed when the Mets decided to buy him out after his second ill-advised tour of duty with the team.

“The agreement called for deferred payments at an 8 percent annual interest rate. At the time, Mets ownership did not mind that interest rate because their investments with Bernie Madoff were returning comfortably more than that figure.” (ESPN NY)

Bonilla only played in 60 games in 1999 and batted .160 with a .520 OPS in 119 at-bats to earn his huge haul. All told, Bonilla’s total payout for that season will come to $29.3 million dollars, and that’s not counting the $7.5 million the Mets also owe him from the buyout of his first stint with the Mets.

monopoly-mccain

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I’ll Take “Worst Owners In Baseball” For $500, Alex… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:41:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168416 alex trebek jeopardy

Alex – The answer is… Because the Wilpons had no money after becoming embroiled in a second Ponzi Scheme with arch criminal Bernie Madoff.

Joe D. – Why didn’t the Mets sign Jose Reyes?

DING, DING, DING, DING, DING….

It looks like I missed out on all the fun this morning where various Mets Twitter celebs battled over why we didn’t sign Jose Reyes or why we don’t try and get him back.

jose-reyesWe can debate the pros and cons of bringing Jose Reyes back all we want, but the fact is the Blue Jays have no intentions of trading him. But that’s not the point of this post anyway.

As to why we didn’t sign him, Matt Cerrone lays out his case on MetsBlog and concludes:

“My understanding is that Sandy Alderson simply didn’t want to be paying $22 million a year to Reyes when, in his mid 30s, Jose’s legs and body would not likely be able to do the things that made him great on the Mets.”

I’m sorry, Matt, but that’s not even close to why we didn’t sign Reyes. You are asserting that if Alderson did want to sign him he could have. That’s undeniably wrong and misses the mark completely.

The Mets didn’t sign Reyes because the financial state of the team was in such distress that they could not afford him.

When the truth finally came out Sandy Alderson himself admitted that the Mets never even made him an offer.

Additionally, they didn’t even bother negotiating with Reyes when they had their exclusive window and long before the Miami Marlins were even allowed to mention his name and enter the picture.

This had nothing to do with Alderson and not wanting to invest big dollars on a player whose game relied mostly on his speed.

This was all about the Wilpons and Saul Katz putting their own franchise in a dangerously precarious position due to their utter incompetence and open-eyed involvement with the notorious criminal Bernie Madoff.

The Wilpons were still teetering on bankruptcy that offseason, and there was never any chance that Jose Reyes was getting signed at the time.

In fact, David Wright would not have been signed to that exorbitant $138 million dollar deal either had his free agency come at the same time as Reyes. This was never an either-or situation.

These facts are material and undeniable.

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Does 2015 Free Agent Market Influence Mets 2014 Offseason Strategy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/does-2015-free-agent-market-influence-mets-2014-offseason-strategy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/does-2015-free-agent-market-influence-mets-2014-offseason-strategy.html/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 02:16:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131802 sandy alderson

An MMO Fan Shot By Andrew Doris

The two-year plan

The past two seasons, the Mets have finished 74-88. Over that time, they’ve dumped all their albatross contracts (except Bobby Bonilla…) and resolved the Bernie Madoff lawsuit, such that management finally appears capable of investing in the team. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, but Sandy Alderson has said the team has about $30 million to spend this off-season if he chooses. This post assumes they are serious, and aims to shed light on the wisest way to invest that money.

It’s reasonable to assume that without any major off-season additions, the Mets might finish 74-88 again in 2014. That might even be optimistic, because they’ve lost two key producers from last season already: Matt Harvey and Marlon Byrd. Perhaps young players will develop and improve enough to replace those losses, but even if that’s the case, they would still just be treading water to match last year’s output. It’s safe to say the current roster is no better than a 74 win team.

With that in mind, it is highly unlikely the Mets will win the World Series next season – there are just too many holes to fill in one off-season with the money and trade chips at Alderson’s disposal. A more realistic approach is to view the next two off-seasons as stepping stones to serious contention – a sort of “two-year plan” to get this team among the league’s elite.

Phase one of this plan should be to improve the team by enough that the fans take notice and tune in for 2014. The piqued interest would increase ticket sales and TV revenue, and ideally enable additional payroll expansions (read: player acquisitions) in phase two – next off-season and beyond.

However, doing this will require a team that, as Fred Wilpon famously put it back in 2004, is “playing meaningful games in September”, and a 74 win team does not match that criteria. How much does Alderson need to improve the roster to make that team a reality?

In a division with the Braves and Nationals, I suspect the Mets will need to win at least 85 games to even compete for the playoffs. Last year the Nationals won 86 and still finished 4 games out of the wildcard race. To actually make the playoffs, they may need to win 90, but I think Mets fans would be satisfied with 85 if it meant they stayed in the hunt until late in the season.

The question Alderson must answer, therefore, is this: how can he improve the team by 10 wins or more this off-season, without impeding his flexibility to make even more acquisitions next year? If the Mets are to navigate this question successfully, it behooves them to consider what options might be at their disposal next off-season. This foresight is particularly necessary at their positions of need, because those are the spots at which the greatest improvement can be made.

As I see it, the Mets’ greatest positions of need are OF, SS, 1B and SP, in that order. I put SP last because it is the only one of those holes that exists only in the short term. With the return of Harvey and the ascent of Syndergaard, Mejia, Montero, DeGrom and even Robles all expected by 2015, pitching shouldn’t be a problem over the long term (unless some of those names get traded filling one of the other three holes). By the time we’re seriously contending for a world series, that hole will ideally have filled itself. Neither OF, SS, nor 1B, however, have any promising minor leaguers nearing an MLB arrival date, so it makes the most sense to target external additions at those positions.

The options at shortstop:

Let’s start at SS. As Mets fans know, this was one of our biggest areas of need last year, with Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla combining for a woeful -1.7 WAR on the season. The 2014 free agent class has two primary options at SS: Stephen Drew, and Jhonny Peralta. Although these are good players, both are on the wrong side of 30 with health concerns, and both may cost around $12 million a year on a multi-year contract. The 2015 class, by contrast, features a whole host of interesting names: Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Hanley Ramirez, and Jed Lowrie. Furthermore, each of those players play on teams that are often open to trading players in contract years, such that Sandy might be able to land them in a deadline deal this upcoming summer depending on where everyone is in the standings.

For this reason, I recommend the Mets hold off on signing a big-name SS this winter, when the market is thin and prices are high. This has the added benefit of giving Ruben Tejada a few more months to turn things around. Even if the Mets don’t view Tejada as their SS of the future, it is unwise to sell low, and Tejada’s value has never been lower. A solid start to 2014 might improve his trade value and net them something better in return than they could get right now.

The options in the outfield:

Next up is OF. Even if we assume that light-hitting Juan Lagares is the answer in CF, the Mets have only one MLB caliber starting outfielder on their roster, with no help from the minors in sight (short of Cesar Puello, who has some questions to answer). If they are to get away with Lagares in CF, they desperately need some offense from the corner OF spots. Thankfully, the 2014 free agent class has several big name outfielders that could serve as the power-hitting cleanup hitter Terry Collins needs. Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran, and Nelson Cruz could all fit that mold, while Jacoby Ellsbury could busy our competition on the market and make those other names more affordable (higher supply of marquee OF’s = lower price for each one). Additionally, there are several big name outfielders rumored to be on the trading block this winter, from Jose Bautista to Giancarlo Stanton to Matt Kemp to Andre Ethier. 2015, by contrast, has very few exciting names under 35 years old. Colby Rasmus is pretty good, but after that it goes downhill fast: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Jonny Gomes, Emilio Bonifacio, Nate Schierholtz, Norichika Aoki, Chris Denorfia…you get the picture.

Curtis+GrandersonFor these reasons, it’s imperative that the Mets land at least one marquee, power-hitting outfielder this offseason, even if they have to sign him to a long term deal. Ellsbury and Choo may be outside our price range, but I think Curtis Granderson could be an excellent fit. He’s certainly comfortable in New York; in his first three years with the Yankees, Granderson was a superstar, averaging 36 homers per season with an 11% walk rate. Before you argue that was inflated by Yankee stadium, realize that Granderson averaged 18.5 road home runs from 2011-2012, which is more than any current Mets OF could provide in an entire season.

The 2013 season was lost to fluke injuries stemming from two stray fastballs, but before that Granderson was extremely durable, averaging 153 games a season from 2010-2012. His speed and defense will decline with age, but keep in mind what it’s declining from: a speedy, gold-glove caliber centerfielder. If the Mets shift him to LF to accommodate Lagares, he’d still offer plus defense and base-running in the short term, without being anything close to a liability in the long run. Granderson also has a reputation for being one of the most amiable players in the game, making him a fan favorite and a great locker room presence. He does strike out a lot, but that’s nitpicking, especially when you consider the much larger flaws of any 2015 option. In a deep market, Granderson could probably be had on a 3-4 year deal at $14-15 million per year, which still leaves Alderson enough flexibility to sign a SP and some role players for 2014. If they miss out on Granderson, I’d suggest Carlos Beltran or Nelson Cruz as high-ceiling fallbacks. If we felt like signing two outfielders, Nate McLouth might warrant consideration.

The options at first base:

Finally, we have 1B. With Jose Abreu gone to the White Sox, this year’s free agent class features interesting options like Mike Napoli, Kendrys Morales, and Corey Hart. 2015, by contrast, has very few good options under the age of 35 (assuming the Royals use their club option to pick up Billy Butler’s contract). Using the above logic, this would seem to imply that if the Mets are to get an external option to man 1B, this is the offseason to do it. If Sandy chooses to go that route, I’d support the decision.

However, I don’t think first base is such a dire necessity as is the outfield, for the simple reason that the Mets have better in-house options to man the former than they do the latter. Between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin, Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy, the Mets have five candidates for one position. With the exception of Flores, none of those candidates have a career OPS below .746. Even if only one or two of those options work out, Terry Collins could probably cobble together moderate levels of production by riding the hot hand. The options in the OF, by contrast, inspire much less confidence: Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, and Matt den Dekker. None of those guys have a career OPS over .672 – none have a track record to prove they are major league caliber hitters. Until Cesar Puello (who has his own question marks) gets called up, these four AAAA guys would be competing for two vacancies, and the result would be woeful even if nobody got hurt.

TL;DR:

The bottom line is this: if the Mets are serious on improving the team in 2014 while maintaining the flexibility to make additional improvements next winter, they should devote this off-season to acquiring at least one marquee OF, either via a trade or via free agency. Then, they should sign a high-upside veteran starting pitcher to a short, cheap, incentive laden deal, as well as a backup catcher and some affordable bullpen arms. However, they should hold off on acquiring a SS upgrade until the market thickens, and if money’s tight, they should also hold off on committing to an external 1B until they have more information on the viability of their internal options.

By following this blueprint and getting a little lucky, the Mets should be able to plug all their holes with capable and exciting players in a cost efficient way before the 2015 season, while still improving enough in the short term to make 2014 exciting. Only time will tell if Sandy Alderson agrees.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Mets Fans Suffering From Bargain Bin Boredom http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-fans-suffering-from-bargain-bin-boredom.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/mets-fans-suffering-from-bargain-bin-boredom.html/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:00:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=101570 As winter creeps onto the landscape and the offseason crawls along, its becoming apparent that the sweeping changes that were promised by Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, are likely to be held off another year.  Instead of renovating the roster to resemble that of a organization poised for a resurgence, the Mets remain in a holding pattern.  The team’s front office had declared the World Series, then the Thanksgiving holiday and now the start of the winter meetings as dates for clarity on the futures of RA Dickey and David Wright.  The first two dates have come and gone, with the latter quickly approaching, and yet we still wait.  That appears to be what we do best around here these days…Wait.

Speaking as someone who was content with the idea that it took more than a season to screw this franchise up and that it will take more than a season to fix the mistakes of those that came before him, I tolerated the notion that 2014 might be the year the Mets find themselves back on the map.  So, I waited.  Waited for what, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m pretty sure I expected the framework for such a rebuild in place a mere season away from the self-imposed rebuilding deadline.  For sure, the team would need at least a season to mesh, right?  And still, I wait.

I think I’ve gotten to the point that I’m actually bored with what going on here.  Quite frankly, I don’t care what the team’s financial situation.  Furthermore, the methodical approach of Sandy Alderson seems to do nothing but make the agony of knowing there is little immediate hope on the horizon even worse.  You see there is nothing wrong with signing low risk, high reward players like Tim Byrdak to minor league contracts.  In fact, its good baseball sense.  However, these are not the signings necessary to put the chips in place for a rebuild.

To be perfectly honest, resigning David Wright and RA Dickey only maintains the organization’s current position of limbo.  These are the players that the front office should build around, but even their future is in doubt.  If we’re lucky enough to ink them to long-term deals, I fear that the players filled in around them will simply maintain the status quo.  Two months ago it was unfathomable that fifth outfielder, Andres Torres, might occupy a roster spot next season.  Now it appears borderline likely.  Simply put, scratching the bottom of the bargain bin has become tiresome.

As another spring training draws near, the blueprint for success is no clearer today than it was two years ago.  Addition by subtraction has replaced the big market mindset brought to you by Omar Minaya and Bernie Madoff.  Whether you blame poor investing, poor free agent signings, or even poor player development, the Mets schtick just seems stale at this point.  Resigning Wright and Dickey may pacify some fans, but it will be the players brought in around them that will inspire the imaginations of the masses.  They don’t have to be nine-figure players, but the Ronnie Cedenos of the world just aren’t going to get it done.

I’m bored Sandy Alderson.  Give me a reason to get excited, a reason to look forward to the future, hell.. give me a reason to come to the ballpark.  Show fans that this organization is still interested in winning.  Enough with the stopgaps.  Lets build something worth the our time..and our money.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

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Mets Ticket Prices On Secondary Market Flat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mets-ticket-prices-on-secondary-market-flat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mets-ticket-prices-on-secondary-market-flat.html/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:40:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=77762 Despite the New York Mets entering the season with muted expectations, the average price for Mets tickets on the secondary market are comparable to last year’s prices, and in fact are up a bit compared to this time last year. As the prices on the secondary market are set by individual ticket brokers all over New York, they come the closest at reflecting the “true market value” of what fans are willing to spend to get into Citifield. Crunching the sales data of Ticket Liquidator, the second-largest secondary ticket site, it looks like despite anxiety about the team’s ability to compete, fans are willing to spend close to the same amount as last year.

In terms of action on the field, so far many fans that have attended a game at Citi Field have gotten a bargain, as there have been some spectacular games so far, including a nail bitter 1-0 win over the Braves on Opening Day and Daniel Murphy’s walk-off RBI single in the 9th to seal the Met’s 4-3 win over the Nationals to stay unbeaten.

Like most teams, the Mets saw the price of tickets drop following opening day.

The Madoff effect on Mets tickets

One of the darkest clouds looming over the Mets heading into 2012 was the Bernie Madoff affair and just how much loot the Wilpons would end up having to turn over. As soon as it was announced that the Mets owners would settle for $162 million, Mets ticket prices jumped almost 14 percent. CEO Fred Wilpon and President Saul Katz settled their Bernie Madoff problem on March 19, and tickets did go up that week (Week 12), with the average price rising to $63 from $54 the week before.

Top Ten Mets Games of 2012

In terms of what games are getting the most attention, it’s the usual suspects. Not surprisingly, the two interleague games against the Yankees top the list, with tickets for the Mets vs Yankees having a higher average ticket price than even Opening Day against the Braves. Here’s a look at the top-selling games at Citi this year:

Mets Ticket Prices Over the Years

While 2006 saw some high peaks in terms of average ticket price, its important to note that the secondary ticket market was still in its infancy at the time and overall the tickets sold on the exchange were normally priced higher than they are today. It is interesting to note that as the secondary ticket market grew the average price actually dropped. 2008 was the Mets last year at Shea Stadium, which, combined with the team holding a 3.5 game lead after 145 games, led to the highest ticket prices to end the regular season.

2009 was most popular because it was the inaugural season at Citi Field and the Metropolitans were fielding a solid team. But notice the downward trend in 2009 as the team crept toward its eventual .432 winning percentage. The new ballpark helped garner enthusiasm in the early part of the year, but the old axiom that winning is everything held true at Citi too.

As you can see the average ticket price stayed flat from last year to this. If the team keeps playing this well, (fingers crossed) ticket prices might actually rise, which is bad. So if you have a feeling about the team you might be better off buying tickets sooner rather than later. Conversely, if the Mets flounder and prove the haters right, you might be able to get into the game at some bargain basement prices.

And in case you hadn’t had enough charts and graphs, for fun we put together the total attendance figures provided by MLB.com, as well as the average attendance per year. If you’re wondering, Citi Field’s capacity is 45,000, while Shea’s capacity was 57,333.

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The End of the Madoff Era – Finally http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/the-end-of-the-madoff-era-finally.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/the-end-of-the-madoff-era-finally.html/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 01:00:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=75052 I remember when the whole Madoff fiasco started to carpet-bomb its way into the mainstream sports media. Well before it all started to make headlines and evolve into the sports blogs fodder du-jour, mercilessly mocking the team, its owners and even fans, I had a conversation with an old family friend with ties to the organization. During our chat the Madoff situation came up.

Basically he said that the Mets wouldn’t be spending money on free agents anytime soon and that the Madoff situation was partly the reason. Little did I expect that less than two years later the team would go into full out slash and burn mode cutting nearly $50 million in payroll, eliminating 10% of their workforce and eventually eliminating one of its minor league affiliates.

I wrestled with the idea of writing about what I was told. You have to understand my conversation was well before Bernie Madoff and his relationship with the Wilpons became news. I certainly didn’t have an ax to grind with anyone and in fact, truth be told, after having done research for an article about the Welcome Back Veterans program, I learned just how instrumental Fred Wilpon was in the creation of that honorable effort.  It gave me a new found respect for the man. But I had/have faith in my source and Joe D echoed that faith in both my source and myself and thus started the ball rolling regarding Madoff and the Mets, at least partly here on MMO.

I took some heat for it from fans and writers alike. I understood that. I’m not a credentialed journalist, who incidentally are far more protected legally for what they write than a blogger is but, to me, it was newsworthy insofar that it was going to effect the team, most likely for years to come.  Now with yesterday’s news that the Trustee, Irving Picard and the Wilpons, settled the claw back lawsuit, with the Wilpons agreeing to pay $162 million – spread out over the next 3 years – finally we can see some light at the end of this tunnel. As this saga unfolded over time, so much information and misinformation made it’s way into our thought processes it was difficult to discern what was true and what was opinion draped in the guise of fact. To some degree we will probably never know the entire truth about this situation.

Some of the best reporting on this has been by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. When I reiterate Joe D’s praise of Sandomirs’ objective reporting it’s difficult for me not to mention Howard Megdal who in his book, Wilpon’s Folly, did lay out a great deal of information regarding the situation. Whether he formed biased conclusions or not based on what he discovered, I’d leave for his readers to discern.

In the end, as most civil litigations play out, this lawsuit never made it to trial even though the process of seating jurors was underway. So it does beg the question of who won this high profile showdown? It’s hard to say that either side is walking away unscathed. Picard was originally seeking a billion dollars from this only to have it pared down to $383 million and then finally to settle on $162 million. The Wilpons insisted that they were never “willfully blind” to Madoff’s treachery, as they were never accused of anything illegal in Federal criminal court; if they were we would have seen them in orange jumpsuits along with Madoff a long time ago.

However they recently had a setback in court when Judge Rakoff ruled that it was the Wilpons who had the burden to prove that they weren’t “willfully blind” to Madoff’s actions. Apparently in the end it came down to neither side not wanting to roll the dice on having a jury decide this.  The media tends to self-generate its own momentum on certain stories and this was no exception. I for one still have mixed feelings about the entire case. The Wilpons for years funded this team with as much fervor as a politician does with their favorite Government program. And just like some government programs, the results haven’t been much to brag about.  But, the Wilpons do spend when they have it as history has shown. Unlike many owners who simply choose not to which is their right. It’s the “how” and the “who” the Wilpons spend it on that needs to be recalculated – as it seems to have begun under Alderson’s tenure as General Manager.

None of us can predict the future as the team still has a mountain of debt to pay off along with the lawsuit but having this saga finally come to an end should please even the most jaded of Mets fans. Perhaps some day down the road we will look back on these times as the culminating moment when the Wilpons and the Mets evolved from desperately wanting to be relevant in a city that has been owned by the team in the Bronx since the mid-90’s, to actually setting the relevance in this town.  As a Met fan I want to see this team succeed and if this ownership can rise again, with a winning formula and team, I don’t think there’s one Met fan out there that would care less who’s cutting the player’s checks.

 

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Wilpon Is Right, Minority Owners None Of Mets Fans Business http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/wilpon-is-right-minority-owners-none-of-mets-fans-business.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/wilpon-is-right-minority-owners-none-of-mets-fans-business.html/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2011 11:43:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=64195 Photo credit: Craig Ruttle |      Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

This past Monday, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon updated the media and fans about the status of the minority ownership stakes, saying it was “going very well.” That was the first significant update since the David Einhorn deal fell apart.

Fans and the media alike were interested in who these minority owners were, and Mr. Wilpon stated:

Some of the people don’t want to be public. Some of the people might never be public. I don’t think anybody knows all the minority shareholders in each of the other teams. Do you know all the minority shareholders in Atlanta or Kansas City or St. Louis, Cincinnati, the Yankees? It’s just not widely known.

The bottom line is that Jeff Wilpon is right. The minority owners who have invested in the Mets are none of the fans’ business. I know in today’s information age we want to know everything, but this is a non-issue and I’ll tell you why.

  • This has nothing to do with what happens on the field. These minority owners are being brought in to infuse more cash into the team overall and not just the roster which is our business. The renovations that are being made to Citi Field are a prime example of where some of this money is going to.
  •  The Mets and Sterling Equities are a privately owned company. They are not required by law to divulge information like this to us and the media.
  • It does sound like there have been some sales of the minority shares which means that the sales and new minority owners have been approved of by Major League Baseball.

That last point is what matters most. I believe last week when Bud Selig said:

I do have a lot of worries today, but frankly I’m happy to say the Mets are not one of them.

He knew of the sales and there’s nothing to worry about which is refreshing.

We need to worry about what is on the field, and the players the front office is putting on that field – not who is infusing new cash into the team. I know that is not popular in today’s climate.  We have a GM giving bloggers access to help share team news with the fans, and yet one of them attacks the owners of the Mets in order to help drive up his book sales. As long as MLB is happy and approves what the owners are doing, that is good enough for me and should be good enough for the fan base as well.

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The Coming Met-Pocalypse http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/the-coming-met-pocalypse.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/the-coming-met-pocalypse.html/#comments Wed, 25 May 2011 17:34:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=51074

“Even if the financials break down as reported, one would think the $100 million dollars being earmarked for operating costs will go toward the projected $70 million dollars in losses this season, and any additional losses next season. Basically, the way I see it, this will keep them afloat for two years, and that is assuming they don’t lose the lawsuit.  By the end of those two seasons, the Wilpons better have figured out a plan to make the Mets profitable again, otherwise he will find himself back in this same exact situation in 2013. They have to stop the bleeding, or else.

Considering all of that, I don’t see how they won’t slash payroll by half of that $50 million dollars in flexibility they are expected to gain in 2012. That would mean a payroll that may not even top $100 million next season.”

Truer words couldn’t have been spoken Joe D.  In light of the news that Jeffrey Toobin made with his New Yorker article on Monday – far be it from me to assuage our fanbase with the popcorn and candy notion that all will be smelling like roses in short order.  Fault me if you will.  I like to live in the real world instead of the land of make believe. 

A great deal was discussed this past offseason about the level of flexibility Sandy Alderson would have once a few key contracts come off the books.  I being one, figured at least at that point Alderson would be able to either a) sign a younger player if one such option presented itself or b) re-allocate at least a portion of that money into the amateur draft and/or (international) free agent budget. 

Maybe I should have chosen the red pill but the situation the Wilpons have put themselves in is precarious at best – sad and self-destructive to the Met organization at worse.  To think that MLB could theoretically become the de-facto operators of the New York Mets, ala the Expos, the Rangers, and the Dodgers is absolutely embarrassing. 

Even if as Joe D said – “if $65 million comes off with Reyes’ departure and because Francisco Rodriguez doesn’t vest, only about $23 million gets put back in next offseason — with the need for a shortstop and a closer. And that’s not even taking into account raises to other players.” – that leaves very little room for anything substantial at that point to lessen that type of blow to the product on the field. 

No matter how some of us in the blogosphere want to downplay this situation and be the calm cool and collected heads in the room, there’s little sugar coating this monumental financial debacle that in hindsight could have been easily avoided.  As Howard Megdal mentioned in his article for ww.capitalnewyork.com,

“…it shows Wilpon and Katz ignoring advice from prominent investors ( Merrill Lynch & Ivy Asset Mangement and Sterling’s own Arthur Friedman ) that they clearly should have heeded. Fun fact: that Madoff insurance would have cost Fred Wilpon $1.5 million, with a $500,000 deductible, on $500 million of Madoff holdings. Put another way, Wilpon could have insured roughly his entire Madoff portfolio for the amount he’s paying Gary Matthews Jr. through the end of this year for 65 awful plate appearances last year.”

What can you say to defend that?  Perhaps the Wilpons are as dim witted as they claim when asked if they knew about Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.  All I know is we as fans need to enjoy what we have right now.  Enjoy Jose Reyes.  Enjoy Wright.  Enjoy Beltran.  Take a moment to realize that by nit-picking every single fault that Reyes, Wright  and even Beltran have, only takes away from the fleeting time we have to enjoy watching them play (and hopefully helping the team succeed ). 

We seem to be always looking for something better and never quite satisfied, at least some of us fans.  I’m sure if the 80’s greats of Carter, Hernandez and Strawberry were playing today the same cadre of Met fan nit-pickers would point out those players faults to a tee.  Somehow I see Keith Hernandez, if he were on this team today, ripped about by those fans who would say he’s not elite since he’s not a power guy, therefore he MUST be traded.  It’s sillyness and I’m sure those same fans would sit around the water cooler years later and reminisce about the good old days, about the players that the team traded or let go, all to have success elsewhere.  I feel sorry for those fans for they never see what they have in from of them, until it’s too late.

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Fan Post: Together We Can All Make A Difference And Save The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/fan-post-together-we-can-all-make-a-difference-and-save-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/fan-post-together-we-can-all-make-a-difference-and-save-the-mets.html/#comments Mon, 09 May 2011 19:05:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=49918

Though to most baseball fans the season has just begun, to many Mets fans it was over before it started.

The Mets were welcomed at the beginning of the season by five fans covering their faces in shame with brown paper bags and chanting “sell the Mets.”

After being sued for $1 Billion by Bernie Madoff victims, the Mets franchise is now left with a brand new, state of the art stadium that is home to falling ticket sales and a financially broke team.

In order to cope with these economic woes, this article is calling upon Mets fans, players and staff to help the team conserve what little cash they have left.

Mets fans are asked that if a foul ball is hit into the stands, please throw it back onto the field so the ball can be reused. When one is purchasing a beverage please ask for a little ice. Limit the amounts of squirts out of the ketchup and mustard dispensers to one squirt each and return unused utensils back to their original place.

Mets players are asked to share batting helmets, gloves and bats. Also, the Mets should issue reversible jerseys for home and away; this will cut expenses in cotton, a commodity that has recently risen drastically in price.

The Mets staff can pitch in as well. Player’s jerseys should be washed every other game, cutting back on the team’s laundry bill.

The Mets staff has the opportunity to not only cut costs but increase revenue as well. All the used bottles should be collected after the game and deposited for a 5-cent refund.

If the Mets community works together to cut costs maybe the community can save the Mets and make sure they come back next year with a winning team.

Lets Go METS!!!

This Fan Post was contributed by and written by Kevin Milgraum.

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It Gets Worse: Mets May Need Another Loan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/it-gets-worse-mets-may-need-another-loan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/it-gets-worse-mets-may-need-another-loan.html/#comments Wed, 02 Mar 2011 17:08:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=45422 The New York Post has broken the news that the Mets are looking for even more loan. They want tens of millions of dollars and all of this money is just to cover the team’s basic operating expenses.

The Wilpons should be focusing on selling a large chunk of the team at this point. It is beyond obvious that the Madoff scandal is greatly impacting the team’s finances.

The article also mentions that the Mets received a $430 million loan from JP Morgan Chase last year. The bank is trying to recruit other banks to put together a loan to help the Mets until the Wilpons sell a majority stake in the team.

Sources are uncertain about if the Mets can actually pay back the loan. They believe this is a very risk move considering the team could lose as much as $50 million this year.

After the Mets received a loan from the MLB, their debt total reached $505 million. Depending on the team’s worth, they could have enough money to secure another loan. It all depends on what the team is valued at.

Payments to players may eventually become an issue if the team cannot secure another loan. This could decimate the team chemistry.

It has also been revealed that banks have been selling some of the Mets debt off form 90 cents on the dollar. They believe that the Mets are a risky investment and are trying to lower their exposure.

The new loan might help the team avoid defaulting on their existing debt. This is quickly turning into a very ugly situation for the team. There will likely be major changes with the organization before the end of the season.

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Who Do We Want To Own The Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/who-do-we-want-to-own-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/who-do-we-want-to-own-the-mets.html/#comments Wed, 09 Feb 2011 04:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=43740

A little more than two weeks ago it was announced by Fred and Jeff Wilpon that they were exploring the option of adding a partner(s) to own the New York Mets.

Naturally the news hit the blogs and Twitter in no time and there was talk among Mets fans on who they would want to own the team. There were two names that came up many times as possible new owners for the Mets:

James Dolan: Not surprising at all, he already owns two of the major sports teams in New York, the Knicks and the Rangers who both make Madison Square Garden their home. Dolan in the past has even expressed his interest in owning the Mets. He certainly has the money to run another team and would certainly compete with the Yankees in spending.

Mark Cuban: Mark Cuban as we all know is a self made billionaire. He currently owns the Dallas Mavericks.  Cuban has also been very vocal about wanting to own a Major League Baseball team. He has tried unsuccessfully to purchase both the Chicago Cubs and recently The Texas Rangers but was blocked by MLB for not being a good ole boy.

Both Dolan and Cuban have the money to run a major league team in a big market that’s for sure. Dolan has showed in the past he is willing to spend money. Cuban always wants to win. If I had to pick 1 to be the owner it would have to be Mark Cuban. Dolan has done a horrible job with both the Knicks and Rangers over the years. Dolan stays loyal to the people he hires to run his teams to a fault. Glen Sather has been the President and GM for The Rangers for too long. Many including myself believe that if Isiah Thomas did not a bring a lawsuit on MSG he would still be running the Knicks.

Then you look at how Mark Cuban has turned the Dallas Mavericks around since purchasing the team. Before purchasing the team the Mavericks had a winning percentage of 20%. Cuban has owned the team for 10 years now and their winning percentage now stands at 69%. The Mavericks have also made the playoffs every year under Cuban’s ownership including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2006.

The chances that both Cuban and Dolan would buy a 25% stake in the team are pretty low. I can’t imagine either owner wanting to fork over 250-300 million dollars to have no say in operations or the direction of the team. I also doubt MLB is going to allow Cuban to own a team, considering they have already turned him down twice.

Cuban has already gone on record as saying that he would be very interested in buying part or all of the Mets, but was also adamant that the Wilpons would have to make the first move and call him. I don’t blame him.

Who do you want to own the team? It doesn’t have to be realistic, it’s just to have a discussion.

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It Must Be Mets Baseball Season – Bernie Madoff Is In The News http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/it-must-be-mets-baseball-season-bernie-madoff-is-in-the-news.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/01/it-must-be-mets-baseball-season-bernie-madoff-is-in-the-news.html/#comments Sun, 30 Jan 2011 14:00:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=43618 If any of you have the utter joy living in the Northeast I’m sure you’re well aware that this has been one of the roughest winters in a long time if ever. Six snowstorms including a major blizzard and we haven’t even made it into February yet.

The moment I walked into my local A&P it was as if I had stepped into an 80′s disaster flick. I swore I saw someone who looked like Charlie Sheen scream “Wolverines!” carrying a box of Hot Pockets in the frozen food section.

I witnessed more gallons of milk, loaves of bread and cartons of eggs leaving the shelves, that I realized either we’re having yet another blizzard or everyone in New Jersey is on a rabid French toast fix.

There’s nothing I want more than for Spring to be sprung already. Luckily we have just two more weeks to bear until pitchers and catchers report in Arizona and Florida. Of course being a Met fan, we all know Mets baseball season is around the corner when the familiar name of Bernard Madoff meanders his way into Mets news yet again.

Whether you consider this is news or not depends on your point of view I suppose and if you, like me, have heard this for quite some time already. It seems that the Wilpon family desire to bring in a minority owner (or owners?) to alleviate any possible financial effects non-baseball related issues have with Sterling Equities.

In layman’s terms, just in case the Wilpons owe more than Mr. Met’s blood to Irving Picard, trustee in charge of recouping the financial losses incurred by Madoff’s victims.

This is nothing new in professional sports. Teams tend to usually have majority and minority holders as Matt Cerrone points out over at MetsBlog. For those Mets fans who are fanatically desiring new ownership, the Wilpons bringing in a partner, by default, actually gives that idea a slight possibility.

It’s doubtful that the Wilpons would outright sell the franchise but then again, I’m sure everyone thought Bernie Madoff was just a shrewd investor at one point. And that the Madoff scandal had little if any effect on the Wilpons. Remember that line?  That’s where I have to part ways with a few of my other fellow bloggers.  Anything is possible.

I remember a time where I was lambasted by more than a few of my colleagues who said I was making a mountain out of a molehill, when I wrote a piece regarding the effects the Madoff scandal will have on the organization. Truth, like time, is slow moving but totally inevitable.

In a book by Erin Arvedlund, “Too Good To Be True”, the author took the position months ago that the Wilpons would end up selling the team. Kerel Cooper of the blog site On The Black was linked by the Wall Street Journal, when a video of Mets executive David Howard taped on the Fox Business Channel, had him totally refuting Arvedlund who’s prediction that the Wilpons were interested in selling the team. It was confirmed by the Wilpons themselves just a few days ago, of their intent on selling “a portion” between 20-25%, of the team while maintaining operational control.  That’s what we know, now.

Cooper made a great point at the time when he asked, “Why would Arvedlund make this stuff up?” I agree. In a time where libel suits are issued like parking tickets, I found and still find it hard to swallow everything the Wilpons have said regarding Madoff.  Be it their right to remain silent it still doesn’t bode well for any prospective buyers, willing to essentially loan the Wilpons a few hundred million in exchange for tremendous risk.  Joe D said it best in his piece the other day as well.

However the truth of the matter is – at this point – what can any of us do? I can’t agree with some of the fanbase, if you want to call them that, who have this burning desire to see the Wilpons fall apart like a house of cards.

As a Met fan I find it hard to understand why any supposed Met fan would wish that, even in spite of the Wilpon’s seemingly questionable business practices. We may never know, with any certainty, what the Wilpon’s motives were in regards to the entire Madoff situation. The case so far is sealed and all parties are refrained from commenting. I sincerely hope that whatever happens doesn’t effect the team on the field.

My God is it Spring yet?

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Needless to say – the Mets have propagated their own scheme against its fans this year and it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all had our fill and want some form of retribution. The retribution we seek comes in the form of accountability from the top on down.

Are we to continue believing that the Mets are financially fit as a fiddle when you take into account that they’ve allowed Oliver Perez to stay on the roster all season, forcing the team to play a man short, just so they aren’t forced to eat the remainder of his 36 million dollar contract?

Are we to believe that Alex Cora – who’s credentials as a great clubhouse leader, and who’s batting average hardly ever seemed to hover above .200 – suddenly out of nowhere earned his release? Of course it wasn’t the fact that he was 18 games shy of automatically vesting his $2 million 2011 option? Was it?

Or Rod Barajas, who we were told was the glue to the pitching staff that couldn’t be replaced, but was literally given to the Dodgers who will be paying the rest of his $500,000 salary?

Still don’t think something smells rotten in Queens – and I don’t mean the subway? Take the Frankie Rodriguez fiasco. He beats on his father in law, in the clubhouse in front of players and their children. He’s arrested and suspended by the team for 2 days. A few days later the Mets filed a claim to convert Frankie knuckles – hat tip to Ed Leyro – contract to a non-guaranteed deal, allowing the Mets the ability to release him early next spring, and saving perhaps the remainder of his contract. Add the $3 plus million they’ve saved by placing him on the disqualified list already.

Before you think I’m going to defend his thuggish behavior, let me explain. Fred Wilpon I have a feeling is a fair man, a man who is willing to give others a second chance. He did just that when he brought Wally Backman back into the Met fold and signed him as the manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Backman’s past includes a DUI and domestic violence, yet the same team willing to give Backman a managerial job – is quick to pull the trigger on releasing one of the premier closers in the game.

Don’t get me wrong if it’s based on principle then say it and stand by it, and for God’s sake be consistent. This nonsense that the Wilpons are aghast over Frankie’s behavior, but apparently a-ok with Wally Backman’s is the same snake oil that Bernard Madoff was selling.

The reason Backman is around and probably WILL be next year’s manager is because he makes probably a 20th of what K-Rod does. Sometimes I feel like a jilted lover with the Wilpons. I’d be happier if they just stuck their hands in my wallet and took what they want. I won’t even ask for a kiss when you leave Fred.

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A Fitting Gesture With A Sprinkle Of Hope? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/a-fitting-gesture-with-a-sprinkle-of-hope.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/a-fitting-gesture-with-a-sprinkle-of-hope.html/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2009 13:55:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=13963 As we reported yesterday, the Mets have announced that no tickets will go up in price next season for Citi Field, and that they will reduce season-ticket prices by 10 to 20 percent. They will also be reducing the number of gold level ticket games which put a premium on desirable matchups.

That’s a fitting gesture and a good first step toward healing the rift between the Mets and their fan base.

However, lost in the whole “Ticket Prices Slashed” news, was something else that got very little attention.

In an e-mail to Mets ticket plan holders, the New York Mets wrote the following:

“Everyone at the Mets – our Ownership, GM Omar Minaya, Manager Jerry Manuel, the coaches, players, front office and staff – shares your disappointment with the 2009 season.  You soon will hear from Ownership and Omar about how we plan to improve the ball club through a combination of player signings, trades, enhanced player development and continued commitment to one of the highest player payrolls in MLB.”

Let me repeat those key words…

We plan to improve the ball club through a combination of player signings, trades, enhanced player development and continued commitment to one of the highest player payrolls in MLB.

Could it be that all the beat writers, sports analysts and major sports media markets have got it all wrong?

All we’ve been hearing was how the Mets were not going to spend any money because of the Madoff scandal, and many reported that the Mets would lower payroll by as much as $20-$30 million dollars.

Now I’m no mind reader or mystic, but judging by that statement from the Mets, it would seem that the Mets fully intend to do everything in their power to do whatever is necessary to put the Mets back into the post season in 2010.

Only time will tell just how committed to that vision they really are, but give the Mets credit for saying it and letting us know that they are as disappointed as the rest of us.

If they are truly reducing ticket prices by as much as 20%, and at the same time committing themselves to one of the highest payrolls in baseball, maybe all those Madoff ramblings were wrong. Maybe when the Wilpons repeatedly said that the scandal would have no bearing on the day to day management of the team, they were actually speaking the truth.

As fans of the Mets, maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt at least on this particular matter. We’ve heard the Mets blow smoke before, but I have a hunch that maybe they will prove all those hundreds of Madoff stories wrong and show that they can still spend with the best of them.

Now if only they could focus on getting some value for their millions.

No more Oliver Perez signings where they go and bid against themselves.

No more fat contracts for players past their prime.

No more rolling the dice on injured players or those coming off of a recent surgery.

Lets get our act together and not show up at the winter meetings with the goal of signing a headline act.

What we need more than anything else is some solid complimentary players and a top of the rotation starter to pair with Johan Santana.

Let’s not try to win the World Series with one trade that looks good up front, but ends up hurting the team and our development system in the long run.

We need to employ a common sense approach, and though we have the resources of a big market team, there is nothing wrong with taking a small market team approach when it comes to team building.

It’s not always how much you spend, but how much value you get.

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Mets VP Calls Madoff Claims Outrageous And Grossly Irresponsible http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/09/mets-vp-calls-madoff-author-a-liar.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/09/mets-vp-calls-madoff-author-a-liar.html/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2009 15:30:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=12333 Yesterday, Erin Arvedlund, author of the book “Too Good To Be True”, appeared on FOX Business News and faced off against Mets VP of Business Operations, Dave Howard.

Howard vehemently denied some of the charges that Arvedlund made in her book which claims that the Wilpons lost $700 million in the Madoff Ponzi scheme, and that it will force them to sell all or a part of the Mets.

To watch the full video, check it out here courtesy of Brian Costa.

The author claims that her source was a Mets front office employee who has been with the Mets for two decades, a claim that Howard called “bogus and untrue”.

Howard made it absolutely clear (with no wiggle room) that the Mets are not for sale now and will not be in the future.

“The Mets are a family owned team that will remain that way for a long, long time.It’s a passionate long-term investment. There’s no need to sell. There’s no reason to sell. There will be no sale and I can’t state it any more definitively than that.”

I believe him, and I must say that the author seemed unwilling to defend her book and her claims when she had the chance. All she kept saying was, 

“It’s my opinion based on my research.”

Howard went completely ballistic on her at times calling her claims “outrageous, unfounded and grossly irresponsible.” He also added,

“The figures she’s thrown out are inaccurate and substantially overstated. The losses incurred from the Madoff fraud have not and will not affect the operation of the Mets.”

Dan Duquette, also appeared on the show and stepped back from comments he made on his Sirius Radio Show that the Mets shutdown their fall instructional league due to cost-cutting measures. He said that when he levied that charge he was unaware that the Mets had shifted that operation to the Dominican Republic so that they could compete against many other teams that had academies in that area. I actually ran with the original story and inaccurately made the same assumption as Duquette. I apologize to the Mets and retract my statements.

It is my belief that the Mets could make things so much easier if they simply communicated the extent of their losses so that these charges and assumptions would simply go away. They have a right to keep that information to themselves, but I feel that if they just came clean on this, the truth will supersede all the speculation that is running rampant out there.

As a privately owned company, the Mets are not subject to the same disclosure rules that public companies have to abide by, but in this case it would certainly do more good than harm. The Mets keep saying we didn’t lose $700 million, and if so then great. Come out and say it was only $400 million, or whatever it is, and lets move on already. We have been dealing with this issue for nine months already. It’s not simply going to rise up and walk away.

Anyway, I still see some evidence of financial woes in their actions, and until I see otherwise I will continue to believe there are tough and lean times ahead.

I do believe that despite the $30 million dollars in savings from the departures of Delgado, Putz, Wagner, etc., that the Mets will slash payroll from $145 million to $120-125 million. Prove me wrong…

And as the author said in the final words of her interview, “Only time will tell.”

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The Proof Is In The Pudding… Or Lack Of It http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/08/the-proof-is-in-the-pudding-or-lack-of-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/08/the-proof-is-in-the-pudding-or-lack-of-it.html/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2009 15:17:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=12241 The Mets have released a statement that the fall instructional league has not been canceled, but only shifted to the the Dominican Republic. Still, it’s a cost cutting maneuver no matter how they wish to present it. They can do all the damage control they want and deny every instance of their obvious cost cutting moves, but it doesn’t change the facts.

1. Traded Billy Wagner for low level AA prospects…………………………………………….Savings $3,400,000.00

2. Announce decision to keep Omar Minaya……………………………………………………Savings $3,500,000.00

3. Announce decision to keep manager and coaches…………………………………………..Savings $7,000,000.00

4. Cancel fall instructional league…………………………………………………………………….Savings $300,000.00

5. Average team spent $26 million in June Draft, Mets spent 18MM (Ranked last)………….Savings $8,000,000.00

This list doesn’t include some of the other transparent cost-cutting measures whose values cannot be determined and only approximated, but you get a good glimpse of the overall picture and it’s not pretty.

1. They pulled Gary Sheffield off waivers and didn’t trade him because they only owed him $125,000.00 and it would have cost more to replace him on the roster. This kept the team from acquiring potential prospects for their depleted farm system.

2. In January, Omar said he had $5-6 million in payroll flexibility to spend at the trade deadline and he opted to sit on his hands and let the team sink instead. What makes this more strange was that Omar was under intense pressure to do something after getting so much scrutiny from last years deadline when he failed to add an arm for the bullpen which ultimately broke down and imploded for the second straight season. I guess lightning does strike twice in the same place.

3. The Mets had no problem handing about $2 million dollars each to utility infielders Alex Cora and Fernando Tatis before the Madoff scandal news broke, but afterward they scoffed at the idea of getting a proven all star second baseman in Orlando Hudson for just $3 million dollars. This happened at a time when no Mets fan wanted to see Luis Castillo return in 2009. It turned out okay for the Mets, but back in January this decision was puzzling to say the least.

4. A proven lefthanded starter in Randy Wolf for just $5 million dollars, was passed over for Nationals refugees Tim Redding ($2.25 MM) and Livan Hernandez ($2 MM). Quantity over quality, which in the end proved costly. The Mets could have hedged their bets after signing Ollie for $36 million, and instead they compounded their problems. Livan has now been cut while Redding toils in and out of the bullpen with a 5.94 ERA. In 28 starts, Wolf has a 3.,25 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

There’s probably more one can add to this short list, but the point is made. Since the Bernie Madoff scandal broke, the Mets have been operating with a different set of rules. Whereas before the focus was on what moves would make the team better, the new focus is now on how can they cut costs further.

The Mets can deny it all they want, but actions speak louder than words.

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Madoff Stole $700 Million From Wilpon! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/07/madoff-stole-700-million-from-wilpon.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/07/madoff-stole-700-million-from-wilpon.html/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2009 23:37:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=8582 Mets beat writer Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reported a little while ago in his blog that Bernie Madoff stole $700 million from the Wilpons.  That is a lot higher than the originally reported $300 million that the Wilpon’s allegedly lost.  Since the scandal broke late last year the Wilpons have not publicly admitted to how much they lost and the impact it’s had on the Mets.  In fact since it was first reported the Wilpons were one of many people who lost money from the Madoff scandal they have done everything they can to assure the media and their fans that it did not have any effect on baseball operations.

I think we can plainly see that the Madoff scandal has hurt the Mets.  I never understood the point in denying it, in fact if they did come out and say they lost a significant amount of money, the fans and media would not be breathing down their necks as well as Omar demanding a trade or second guessing their lack of moves in the off-season.

Right after last season ended with the Mets not making the post season again by 1 game the Wilpons and Omar promised that money was not going to be an option and would go out and improve this team.  They signed K-Rod not too long before the scandal became public knowledge and then their biggest free agent signing after that was Oliver Perez for 3 years, $36 million.

I wonder how much longer they can survive?  Perhaps the Wilpons will have to sell their majority ownership?  I agreed with Joe D’s post earlier in the day when he said “I really wish the team was in the hands of an owner who loved the Mets and all their history, and was also smarter than a fifth grader.”  Perhaps that will come sooner than later?

Here is a link for Bart Hubbuch’s original blog post.

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Is The Mets Organization Falling Apart? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/is-the-mets-organization-falling-apart.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/is-the-mets-organization-falling-apart.html/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2009 20:30:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=7725 It seems to me that the Mets are in a lot of trouble.  I’m not talking about the fact that the Mets are now in 3rd place and are now under .500.  I’m talking about the 9 baseball players that are currently on the disabled list or that their salaries equal almost 70 million dollars.  The organization itself seems to be in disarray.

The organization from top to bottom seem to be throwing each other under the bus to preserve themselves.  Last winter we all know that Manny Ramirez was a free agent.  Before it was revealed that Manny used performance enhancing drugs there was a lot of people who wanted Manny to be part of the Mets.  Omar Minaya we all know had been trying to get Manny to become a member of this team since he became the general manager.  Last year we all found out that the Wilpons were one of the many clients Bernie Madoff cheated out of millions of dollars, but they insisted that Madoff’s lack of a soul had nothing to do with the New York Mets.  In January of this year Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the following regarding Manny Ramirez to Bloomberg.com.

“Mets GM Omar Minaya has not brought the idea to ownership because the baseball staff is not interested in Manny.”

Wilpon not citing a cash flow problem all but threw Omar Minaya and the baseball staff under the bus because as per usual the Wilpon’s refused to admit that there was a problem.

Fast forward to Spring Training and Johan Santana developed some sort of injury in his pitching arm.  There was miscommunication from the start on the exact injury and the severity of the injury.  Dan Warthen was concerned, the trainers were but Santana went out of his way to tell the press that nothing was wrong when other were saying that there was a problem.  Once again there is a lack of communication in this organization.

Santana’s injury was just the start of the Mets feeding misinformation within the organization.  The medical staff and Omar told Delgado that his injury was day to day and that he would be in pain throughout the season, but that he would be able to perform.  Two weeks later and Delgado is having perhaps season ending surgery on his hip.  Jose Reyes goes down next and Jerry Manuel tells us that the training staff has assured him that Reyes is day to day, but Reyes has not played in over month.  Last week Carlos Beltran went down and was placed on the disabled list in what is being called a bone bruise on his knee.  Omar, Jerry and the training staff insist it is only an injury that would heal in 2 weeks.  Beltran has said otherwise, in fact he has gone to Colorado on his own to see one of the best knee surgeons in the country because he believes the injury is worse than what the Mets have told him.

With 3/4 of the core down the Mets are struggling to stay alive in the National League East.  Omar refuses to make a deal, he would rather sit and wait for the guys to heal and then try and catch up to the Phillies.  Reports came yesterday that veteran Mets players are begging Omar to add some depth to this lineup.  The manager also seems to recognize that a bat needs to be added to this team and quick.  Jerry in his post game show has all but begged for Omar to add a bat on Sunday night after the Yanks swept the Mets in their home ballpark.  Last night in his post game show he said about the under .500 team:

“We’re a below-average team — period”

The manager is lashing out at the GM for not doing enough with the team struggling, the team is under-performing and the Mets seem to be coming apart before our eyes.  Departments are not talking to each other and misinformation is being put out into the public and this is causing more harm than good.  The organzation as whole is guilty of this from the owners all the way down to the minor leagues.  This didn’t get a lot of press but the Mets had 3 minor league players suspended last week for the use of PED’s. 

I don’t know when it began or even how it started. Perhaps the collapse, perhaps building Citi Field took too much attention and now the Mets are paying the price, perhaps the Madoff scandal has had more of a negative impact than the Wilpons would like to admit.  But something has happened to this organization since the end of 2006, and needs to be fixed and now. Otherwise there will be more times like this coming.

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Mets Fans Will Pay Dearly For Oliver’s Twist http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/05/mets-fans-will-pay-dearly-for-olivers-twist.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/05/mets-fans-will-pay-dearly-for-olivers-twist.html/#comments Sun, 03 May 2009 13:04:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=4201 It seems like ripping off the Wilpon family is en vogue these days. The sad part about that is that the Wilpon’s can always recoup their losses by giving their fan base the bill.

After two straight disappointing seasons and a world of revenue pouring in from a new park, the Mets were poised to make sure 2009 would not end the same way 2007 and 2008 did.

They were going to make sure that all areas that needed to be addressed would be shored up. Things were going smoothly as the Mets signed closer Frankie Rodriguez for much less than first expected, and a day after that they jettisoned Aaron Heilman to Seattle and came away with a second closer in J.J. Putz. The Mets were on their way to a stupendous off season. Then 24 hours later the Bernie Madoff scandal rocked the airwaves.

The Mets’ first reaction was to separate the huge loss from the team by saying it would have no bearing on the Mets and their needs and goals. Yeah right… Who among us really swallowed that?

Almost immediately the Mets shifted gears. They stormed out of Bloomingdales with K-Rod and Putz, told their limo driver to take the rest of the week off, hopped on a bus, and set off for Value City.

By the following week the Mets had a new plan and a new vision for the 2009 Mets. They sent their little minions out to the media to spread the word. Basically, the new plan went like this.

1. They were no longer interested in upgrading in leftfield. After further review it was decided that Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy would go into the season as the starting tandem in leftfield. Replacing Moises Alou was no longer an option.

2. Mike Pelfrey would follow Johan Santana in the rotation, thus eliminating the need for a number two starter. Instead the Mets would now look to  fill out the bottom of the rotation.

3. Luis Castillo who was almost guaranteed not to return, was now repackaged and resold as the the Prodigal Son who promises to do better if given another chance.

The new plan went into effect without much blow-back. After all, with K-Rod and Putz in the fold, most Mets fans were beyond appeased anyway.

No matter how much free agent players discounted their services, no matter how hard they tried to get the Mets to bite, the new Madoff Era Mets weren’t budging. There would be no O-Dog, no Burnett or Lowe, and even Abreu and Dunn who were willing to sign for a three hots and a warm bath, were not even considered.

Ticket prices were announced, and as expected for the fifth season in a row it meant higher prices, only this time the hike was a ballsy 20% across the board. Oh and one more thing, if you wanted to see the Phillies, Braves, Yankees or Dodgers, you had to buy tickets to 14 other games just for the priveledge. That’s right, single game tickets would not be available for any of the attractive draws.

The Bernie Madoff era hit Mets fans both indirectly and directly. Not only were we going to see the same exact lineup we saw in September of 2008, but we were going to pay hundreds more to see them perfrom… err… under-perform.

Now that Oliver Perez has proven to be a big time bust, things can only get worse from here. Another $36 million dollars down the drain and once again it will be us, the fans that will pay for it not the Wilpons.

Let’s see who the Mets will dredge up to fill this spot in the rotation.

Not many of us wanted Oliver Perez in the first place citing his erratic past, but when he was the last pitcher left on the market who wasn’t facing Tommy John surgery we had to bite our tongues, swallow our pride, and dance with the devil, Scott Boras. When you’re broke, on the streets and starving, the apple with the worm in it looks better than no apple at all.

To make matters worse, our GM Omar Minaya goes prime-time and says his team has no fight in them, and worse yet our manager Jerry Manuel is making decisions that even leaves Sponge Bob Squarepants scratching his head.

What else can possibly go wrong?

It’s not exactly the end of the world, but all of you should have plenty of duct tape and D batteries on hand just in case.

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