Throughout the process of finding a new general manager, we’ve heard a plethora of names. Ranging from Ron Darling to Kim Ng, rumors have been aplenty. But one thing has been constant: executive not agreeing to interviews and turning down the chance to be the general manager of the New York Mets.
So the question has to be asked: Why? Why don’t these executives want the chance to be the general manager of a major market payroll in one of the easiest divisions in baseball?
The roster has obvious talent, obvious holes, and a farm system on the rise, but would be a prevalent opening else where, so what is the problem with the Mets opening?
It could be a history of injuries, and weird ones at that, but that should’t be enough to drive people away. The pressure from fans to win is obvious, but that should motivate you. Could it be that the NL East has a couple deep farm systems? No, because the Mets are one of those.
As you cross these possible reasons off the list, the realization should hit you: ownership.
If it weren’t for Derek Jeter and his debacle in South Beach, the Mets would easily be the worst run organization in baseball.
The Wilpons have been scammed out of considerable amounts of money, and are just now getting past the consequences.
The Wilpons have failed to spend their money wisely in free agency, and if you disagree I would like to point you in the direction of Jason Bay and Johan Santana.
When Sandy Alderson stepped down from the general manager position due to complications with his cancer diagnosis, Jeff Wilpon failed to once mention anything of sympathy, regret, or well wishes in his direction. Not once.
The closest he came was “I think his health and family is first and foremost”, which he repeated a few times, not knowing what else to say while making himself look cold-hearted and unprofessional.
If it were not for the outburst of Yoenis Cespedes in 2015 that lead the Mets to the World Series, the Mets would be entering year 18 of a pennant drought.
Since the 2000 Mets went to the World Series, only seven Mets teams have finished with a record over .500, and only three of said teams have made the post season.
In the 21st century, the Mets have missed the playoffs 77% of the time, one of the worst marks in the sport. The Wilpons, who own a baseball team in New York City, the single largest sporting market on the planet, have had payroll issues.
Since 2012, the Mets have failed to have a payroll in the top-10 in the National League; six seasons in a row where a team playing in New York City has failed to have a top-10 payroll.
Fred Wilpon has been a majority owners since he moved from 5% owner to a 50% owner when he bought shares from the DoubleDay and Co., making him a principal owner. Since Wilpon took sole control in 2002, the Mets have gone 1,272-1,406, a .475 winning percentage.
So there’s no trust in ownership to make financially sound decisions, no real desire for success despite what they tell you, and there’s ownership involvement, too.
Doubleday felt that he had no place in day-to-day decisions, and left them all to world-champion general manager Frank Cashen. Doubleday once said in an article for the New York Times that he owed all of the Mets success to Cashen, and wanted to be relatively unknown.
Jeff Wilpon, who makes a large chunk of decisions on the Mets, is the literal exact opposite.
Wilpon has said on multiple occasions that all decisions are run through him, giving himself ultimate control and final say.
He most recently said this when asked about who would have final say when he named three men to a one man job, causing confusion, chaos, and making himself look worse than he usually does.
When asked in June which of the three interim-general managers, again a one man job he appointed three men to, and said all final word would come through him. Effectively, all three men, again doing a one man job, reported to Jeff Wilpon.
And again in the off-season, he diverted blame from himself. He put it all on the shoulders of the “past regime”, A.K.A. Sandy Alderson, for not spending top dollar in the off-season.
Wilpon, who really wasn’t asked whose fault it was, blamed a man in the heart of money-ball, who was executive for a team that had a $160 million dollar lawsuit in their hands and was paying it off year by year, for the lack of large contracts.
Wilpon placed blame that didn’t need to be placed on a philosophy that has been proven to work, and on a man that served for him through one round of cancer, stepped down for a second, and brought his team back to relevancy and shouldered much of the blame for a lack of success in the early 2010s.
And through different executives and managers, we’ve heard the same narrative. “If we fail, it will be my fault.” “I feel I’ve let the team and ownership down.” “We want to get *enter over-the-hill veteran here* at bats so he can get going.” “I’m proud of them for fighting (and/or) competing.”
We often dig into the person who made such comment for sounding idiotic, uninformed, or flat out wrong. But the fact that we’ve heard these excuses through two managers, a decades worth of players, and a general manager, maybe they haven’t been the issue.
They’re being used as puppets by Jeff to shield blame from himself.
It was reported this season that Wilpon would make “frequent” trips to the managers office to voice his opinion on the lineup and playing time. That’s not generally a vote of confidence in the manager and coaching staff, which Wilpon didn’t let Callaway chose, something most managers do.
It is increasingly obvious that Wilpon is one-dimensional, does not trust his employees, and is also unable to change with the times.
The Mets employ one of baseball’s smallest analytics departments at three full-time employees. This means one of two things: Either Jeff Wilpon is too cheep to have full-time employees, or Wilpon simply does not care for the analytical side of baseball, which is arguably the most important aspect of baseball in 2018.
Remember Jeff Wilpon once fired an employee for being pregnant and unmarried? Leigh Castergine “was Former Senior Vice President for Ticket Sales and Services Leigh Castergine is suing Jeffrey Wilpon and Sterling Mets Front Office, LLC for wrongful termination. The complaint alleges that Wilpon repeatedly chastised and humiliated Castergine for being an unmarried pregnant woman and ultimately fired her for having a baby out of wedlock.”, according to a Vice Sports article from September 2014.
“It gets worse. Castergine collapsed during a meeting and found out she had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and had to have her labor induced lest she deliver a stillborn. When she returned to work and attended a meeting to discuss a potential advertising campaign with an e-cigarette company, Wilpon allegedly said in the presence of Castergine and several other executives, ‘I am as morally opposed to putting an e-cigarette sign in my ballpark as I am to [Castergine] having this baby without being married.'”, says the same article.
So maybe there isn’t a problem with the Mets. Maybe there’s no issue with the roster, the minor league system, the market, the coaching staff, or the fans.
Maybe the issue stems with the ownership group led by Jeff Wilpon, who has shown time and time again that he lacks the ability to properly run the Mets, make smart decisions, trust his employees, change with the times, show compassion or sympathy, show others basic human dignity that they deserve, or even accomplish a task as simple as being a semi-decent person. He is just incapable and incompetent beyond explaining.
There’s one prevalent problem that is causing people around the industry to shy away from an interview for the Mets general manager vacancy.