Some have suggested the product on the field has not yet been impacted by the Ponzi scheme, but that is hardly close to the truth. In fact, much of what the Mets are doing with their team is directly resulted in the fallout from the Madoff situation.
There were rumblings of the Wilpons being in financial straits for over a year now, with a clear sign last July at the trade deadline when the Mets, within striking distance of the wild card, stood pat and did nothing to improve their club. It takes money to win and the Mets added no significant payroll at a time when they could have improved their team and made a change in the attitude at Citi Field.
A second clear sign – although we didn’t learn of this until recently – was receiving a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball at the end of last season. This is a team, despite a new stadium, that was beginning to swim in debt. If we had known it then, we could have been spared the off-season angst of them not doing anything in the winter.
Sign three, and very significant, was the hiring of general manager Sandy Alderson at MLB’s urging. Commissioner Bud Selig took a proactive approach in getting Alderson hired by the Wilpon’s, perhaps in large part, to be a caretaker for the franchise as it explores minority ownership investors and later a possible sale.
To get a franchise ready for sale, it must clear as much debt as possible, which is why the Mets did nothing significant in the off-season. T0 further that intent, it logically stands to reason they will attempt to deal Carlos Beltran this July, doing everything it can from having Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option kick in, and after the season ridding itself of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.
For those who don’t believe the Mets’ financial situation hasn’t already had ramifications on the field, they are missing the big picture. As long as the dark Ponzi cloud lingers, it will continue to impact the everyday operations of this franchise.