Feb 17

Jeff Wilpon Defends Mets’ Financial Plan

Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets chief operating officer, addressed several financial issues with MLB.com as the club opened spring training.

The Mets’ projected payroll for this season is to be shy of $95 million, but Wilpon said it isn’t necessary to have a Yankees-like payroll to compete.

WILPON: Defending plan.

WILPON: Defending plan.

“I would point to the fact that you don’t have to have that kind of payroll to win,’’ Wilpon said of the $140-million plus payrolls the Mets had prior to bringing in Sandy Alderson as general manager.

Alderson’s first objective was to clear the books of the unproductive salaries of Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay and Johan Santana, all brought in under former general manager Omar Minaya. Alderson also traded Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler.

The Mets’ payrolls the past five seasons, all of which they finished below .500 were: $149.4 million (2009); $126.5 million (2010); $143 million (2011); $96 million (2012); and $94 million (2013). The Mets currently have $75 million earmarked for 12 players this season. Barring a surprise signing, they won’t break $100 million. That’s a reflection of Alderson.

“I think he’s put the plan in place, and we’re ready to see the fruits of that labor now,’’ Wilpon said.

The Mets were more active this winter than the past two, and at best are expected to challenge to be a .500 team. Even had they signed shortstop Stephen Drew as most Mets fans want the organization to do, it’s questionable how much better he’d make them.

Another free-agent the Mets passed on was outfielder Nelson Cruz. Alderson wasn’t interested in either, despite a need in those areas.

“If those one or two things were there, we would have expanded the budget for them,’’ Wilpon said. “Just to get a guy because the fans think that’s the right thing to do, that’s not part of the plan.

“Sandy’s not going to overspend for something he doesn’t see value in. The value that we see in those guys versus what their agents were asking for does not meet.’’

The Mets aren’t the only ones thinking that way as both Drew and Cruz remain unsigned.

The Mets are stockpiling young pitching, but have little position-player chips. Wilpon believes that’s their biggest weakness.

“I don’t think we have enough position-player prospects that are ready to compete for jobs at the major-league level right now,’’ Wilpon said. “We’d like to have more, like we have with the pitchers. We’d like to have that same stable of young guys competing for position-player jobs. The guys we have are a couple years away.’’

While Wilpon said it isn’t necessary to have a monster payroll to win, the Mets haven’t won with their $90 million payrolls the past two seasons, either.

The Mets did spend more this year, bringing in Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young, but counter those additions with the loss of Matt Harvey and several questions in other areas and what defines a successful season remains unknown.

One thing for certain, it isn’t anything less than a winning record.

ON DECK:  Matt Harvey faces frustrating summer.

Dec 13

The Times, They Are A Changin’

jeff wilpon winter meetings

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post

Maybe this really is a sign the Mets are back in the business of brandishing, pairing the Colon signing with Curtis Granderson and seemingly stating, for the first time in forever, Madoff’s $50 billion lie finally has stopped chiseling away at their finances and their foundation. The Wilpons and the Katz’s have been steadfast in their argument that Madoff didn’t kill their baseball team as much as you would believe, but the counter evidence of what has become of the Mets these last five years is compelling.

Remember, before Dec. 12, 2008, the Mets had taken on several varsity-level contracts — Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Billy Wagner, even Paul Lo Duca — and bought out the arbitration of their young stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright. The spending didn’t yield a title. But it did produce the best three-year stretch in franchise history, and puts a lie to the theory that whenever the Mets spend money, it winds up in flames. Before Dec. 12, 2008, the Mets had learned to behave like the Yankees — and had learned to like it, truth be told.

Bob Klapisch of The Record

But Jeff Wilpon had a rough day in several of the local newspapers Wednesday, including The Record, as he was challenged to do more after signing Curtis Granderson, and not to punt on the 2014 season. By mid afternoon, the Mets decided to yield to Colon’s demand for a second year. Just like that, the team had its temporary replacement for Matt Harvey.

Of course, Colon is not Harvey; that’s an understatement. And we’ll never know for sure whether the stinging criticism had anything to do with Wilpon’s sudden willingness to stretch the budget. But Mets fans shouldn’t be concerned about the particulars, because Colon is a legitimate front-of-the-rotation presence, despite his risks.

David Lennon of Newsday

The Mets just changed the conversation.

It took close to $90 million, and yesterday’s sizable risk in the extra-large Bartolo Colon. But for the time being, we’re done ripping the Mets for not reaching into their pockets to improve the team. The Mets were the only team to go to four years for Granderson, and with Colon now on board, it’s probably safe to say that no other club was willing to do two. But that’s what we ultimately needed to see from the Wilpons — some signs that they weren’t mailing in 2014 because of the injury to Harvey.

At least the Mets are making us feel like they are back in business. Rather than just hearing about blueprints and a multiyear rebuilding plan, we’re seeing the actual remodeling effort going on, with the addition of impact players who should make a difference right away — not five years from now. Spending money isn’t the answer to everything. But it does stop all the chatter about not having any. For the Mets, that has value.

Thoughts from Joe D.

I beat the Wilpons up all the time, actually I kill them all the time… But to be fair, they are giving Sandy Alderson the opportunity to spend and transform the roster this offseason. Sandy is getting a chance to buy and not just sell. Vaccaro, Lennon and Klapisch do a nice job of conveying that. The Mets do seem to be back in business and regardless of what you think of the moves, just be happy that we can make moves like this again. LGM

Presented By Diehards

Nov 19

Mets Extend Courtesy Meeting To Agent Jay Z

The New York Mets are no different than other teams in the market in that they are used by agents to drum up interest, or create such an illusion for their clients.

JAY Z: Guess who came for dinner?

JAY Z: Guess who came for dinner?

That was the case Monday night when Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson met with new agent Jay Z to discuss Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

The Mets have no interest in Cano, especially at $300 million, but it did them no harm in meeting with the entertainer/agent/mogul. In fact, it might do them some good.

Of course the Mets knew what the perception would be, but are also smart enough to know the Yankees wouldn’t take them seriously as a contender in the sweepstakes for Cano. That news of the dinner was leaked so quickly, presumably by the Jay Z camp, indicates this was a stunt. The Mets never leak such news.

The Mets extended Jay Z a courtesy with the dinner meeting – which came at his request – and it might come back to benefit them one day if he represents a player they might be interested in.

Who knows? A courtesy now might net them a courtesy later. If nothing else, it could get them a break on Nets tickets, or maybe in a plan for Beyonce to perform at Citi Field. They could put the stage on the spot normally reserved for second base.

As for Cano, the Yankees aren’t biting at $300 million, and nobody else seems to be, either. This thing with Cano will drag on for a while.

 

 

May 31

Too Much Made Of Jeff Wilpon’s Comments

I could not help but laugh over the flap made over Jeff Wilpon’s comments Tuesday during the Mets’ gift presentation to retiring Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.

In giving Rivera a fire hose nozzle and fire call box symbolic of being the history’s greatest closer, Wilpon said: “I wish we could see you in the World Series, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year.’’

WILPON: No harm, no foul.

WILPON: No harm, no foul.

The perception is Wilpon has already given up on the season. Of course, the Mets could make a historic run, but does anybody really believe that is possible? I don’t, and neither should anybody with half a brain, or someone with any knowledge of baseball.

Go ahead, save that paragraph and give it to me if the Mets are in the World Series. Wilpon wasn’t trashing his own team and it slays me to have read otherwise this week.

From the media, it was somebody reaching for a headline. And, from the talk-radio crowd, just the same old provincial drivel from those who believe in a conspiracy against the Mets. Sure, it would be great to see October baseball again, but it won’t happen for the Mets this year.

If you’ve been paying attention, don’t count on the Mets reaching contender status for two or three more seasons. They simply have too many holes and weaknesses.

Then there is the issue whether the Mets are able to use Wilpon’s words as motivation. Collins told ESPN.com prior to Thursday’s game such external motivation was overrated.

“You’d have to take a poll in there [of] how many guys read that stuff,’’ Collins said. “If that motivated them, we’ll be blasting them again tonight.’’

True enough.

These guys are professionals and if they are reliant on quotes such as Wilpon’s or bulletin board material they are in trouble. Occasionally that stuff works, but not on a consistent basis, and not enough to carry a mediocre-to-weak team over the course of a season.

The flipside of Wilpon’s comments is if he said something like, “we’ll see you in the World Series,’’ he would have been roasted for being cocky, with his words held against him when it didn’t happen.

Collins, whose job is of lame duck status, certainly isn’t stupid enough to rally his team around his boss’ comments. And, Wilpon definitely would not attempt to rattle the collective cages of his players by slighting them.

Sometimes, too much is made of nothing, and this is one of those times.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 06

The Questions David Wright Should Have Asked The Mets

David Wright spoke of a new day at his press conference yesterday, saying: “There’s a hundred different factors that went into this decision. But before any of them could be taken into consideration, number one had to be that commitment to winning. And, I got the answers that I wanted to hear.”

WRIGHT: What is he thinking?

Oh, to be a fly on that wall. I wonder what questions Wright asked and what the Wilpon’s answers were. Wright didn’t say, but if I were him these are the questions I would ask:

1) “I am staying, which saves you from taking a PR hit. I am deferring money, so how are you going to spend it?”

2) O.K., you got a break in the Madoff case. How long will that continue to be a factor in not getting players to help me?”

3) “What is going on with R.A. Dickey? You do realize our pitching isn’t all that great to begin with and will be worse if he leaves, so are you going to sign him?”

4) “We all know Johan (Santana) is gone after this year, so how are you going to spend that $25 million in 2014?”

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