The Winter Meeting hadn’t yet begun when they ended for the Mets in the late hours last night at the Dallas Hilton Anatole when Jose Reyes accepted the Miami Marlins’ six-year, $106-million offer.
Hell, they might as well pack up and leave town now because without the Mets having made an offer, it is clear they don’t have the money to compete. They can leave an intern behind for the Rule 5 draft.
Truthfully, there’s no point in feigning anger or disappointment over losing Reyes, because anybody with a clue knew it was going to end this way. What we didn’t know were the numbers or final destination, although it rapidly became evident it would be Miami as no other players emerged.
Detroit, San Francisco, Milwaukee were rumored to have interest, but they recognized Reyes’ demands were excessive for an injury-prone player and never entered the bidding. The Mets can hardly take solace in that others thought the same, because there’s the uneasy truth at what a non-bid means.
The Mets didn’t even get to mutter the “we tried,’’ line because they really didn’t. Talking a few times to an agent without mentioning numbers isn’t trying.
“We decided that there were some conceptual limitations and one of the reasons we held back so long was to see where the market would take us,’’ GM Sandy Alderson lamely said last night, probably not even believing his own words.
That conceptual limitation was thinking Reyes might work for free, much like a college intern.
In letting the market form without them, the Mets were hoping others might see Reyes’ limitations, also, and he might fall back to them. But, the Marlins wanted him, and as the Mets did with Jason Bay and they Yankees have done too many times to mention, they bid against themselves.
For awhile last summer the Mets were competitive beyond expectations largely because Reyes was playing to his walk year before he was injured. There is no realistic hope for a competitive summer in 2012. At this point, even Washington and the Marlins are better, and that includes their financial state as well.
Alderson said last night the Mets lost $70 million last year and want to cut the 2011 payroll from $143 million to $100 million or less.
Reportedly, the Mets owe $430 million in principal on a loan against the team, another $450 million on a loan against SNY, and $600 million on Citi Field. And, we haven’t even begun to think about their potential debt on the Ponzi scandal.
Only Fred Wilpon’s friendship with Bud Selig has kept the commissioner from coming down on him as he did the Dodgers’ Frank McCourt.
As I’ve written here numerous times, Alderson was brought here as a fixer, to clean up this mess, but it is becoming clearer the Mets might be broken – and broke – beyond repair.
Through it all, Alderson played the role of the good soldier and said the Mets aren’t considering trading David Wright, but we all know that is next.
“I’m not conceding anything in respect to 2012,’’ Alderson said, his words sounding as hollow.
By the way, season ticket renewals are due soon.