General manager Sandy Alderson, on WFAN today, equated the Jose Reyes departure to that “of losing somebody after a long illness … you can prepare for it, but when it happens it is a hard thing to accept.’’
With Alderson forecasting a $100-million payroll for 2012, Reyes would have been an injury risk they couldn’t afford, no matter how popular he was with the dwindling fan base.
It is team sport sure, but it can’t be forgotten the Mets only reached the playoffs one time in Reyes’ nine seasons with the team.
“I’ve been saying from the first day that the payroll was too high to sustain at the current levels of revenue,’’ Alderson said.
Signing Reyes for the $17.7 million he’ll get from the Marlins, plus the $24 million due Johan Santana, plus the $16 million for Jason Bay and $15 million for David Wright would have added up to $72.7 tied up for four players. As it is, the Mets will pay $55 million for three players, one of which – Santana – they don’t know what they’ll get.
With the Mets losing $70 million last season – that’s what they say, but they haven’t opened their books – and their debt on Citi Field and from loans taken against the team and SNY which total over $1.4 billion, it was clear keeping Reyes would have been a pipedream.
Yes, teams with contracts of near $100 million can win. The Cardinals’ payroll last year was $109 million and the Giants’ in 2010 was $96.2 million. So, it can be done.
Doing so takes building from the farm system, making prudent trades and free-agent signings, signing the right players to long-term deals and avoiding the financial anchors the Mets have had in Oliver Perez, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Francisco Rodriguez.
It also entails being lucky and healthy.
Obviously, the Mets haven’t been any of those things for years, and it could be years before we do.
Perhaps the most telling thing Alderson said was, “Mets fans have been resilient and hopefully will be again.’’