OK, SO NOW WHAT?

Adam Rubin on ESPN NY has a fine column today that sums up the State of the  Mets organization and the non-moves at the trade deadline to a tee. Some excerpts that intrigued me are:

The reality is the Mets are not legitimately in a race right now. They entered Saturday trailing the division-leading Atlanta Braves by 7½ games and trailing the wild card-leading San Francisco Giants by 6½ games. Fifty-nine games remain on the schedule. Four teams, including the hard-charging Philadelphia Phillies, who acquired Roy Oswalt this week, are between the Mets and Giants.

Management can’t come out and say it but they know the Mets have no shot at the post season.  The Mets are what they are, a .500 team that plays like the best team in baseball at home but then plays like the Mets of 1962 on the road, hence the .500 record. Their play this season is a big improvement over last year’s crew who mailed in around this time last year at least this Mets team plays hard.

You can clumsily cite principal owner Fred Wilpon and his family supposedly being stingy for such a deal not materializing, but that would be misguided — even if ownership isn’t blameless. The bottom line is the payroll is still hovering around $130 million this season.

The better answer: If GM Omar Minaya had shown restraint in his other salary commitments — say, not giving Luis Castillo four years and $25 million or Oliver Perez three years and $36 million or guaranteeing seven years to Carlos Beltran — he likely would have had the flexibility to pull off an Oswalt-type trade now.

It’s far more about no discipline than no money.

That does not absolve the Wilpons.

Forget the Perez and Castillo contracts, the one deal Mets will be screaming about will be the Francisco Rodriguez deal, look it over if you dare but I must put a disclaimer that if you are pegnant suffer from high blood pressure or have a sleeping disorder, check with your doctor before viewing the details of K-Rod’s deal

Minaya’s stated plan when he took over as GM in September 2004 was to offset the draft picks forfeited for signing free agents by owning the international market. It sounded good, too. After all, how could a Dominican-born GM walk into any household in that country, throw around dollars and fail to persuade the teenager to sign with the Mets?

The problem? Ownership never threw around the money. After signing Martinez for $1.3 million in 2005, Minaya’s first full season as Mets GM, the organization did not have another seven-figure signing bonus for an international teenager until signing 16-year-old pitcher Juan Urbina, Ugueth’s son, last year.

The Mets knew Venezuelan Jesus Montero, who was coveted in trade proposals involving the Yankees in recent days, was a superior catching prospect to Francisco Peña, Tony’s son. Yet the Mets signed Peña in 2006 because he cost $750,000. The Yankees paid $2 million for Montero.

My question here is whose fault is it? Omar’s or the Skill Sets for the inability to not get any thing done in the International market? You would think having a Latino GM would place the Mets way ahead of other teams but as we learned when they were in pursuit of Carlos Delgado as a free agent, Scareface Bernazard was a little to “street” for Delgado so  I wonder how many more families were turnoff by the Mets resident hoodlum?

The Mets have not been blame-free in their draft conduct from an ownership perspective, either. With apologies to Chris Carter, the Mets essentially gave Billy Wagner  to the Red Sox last season for nothing, in essence to save $3.3 million (Wagner’s $2.3 million remaining salary and a $1 million buyout). As a result, when Wagner signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves last offseason, the Red Sox — not the Mets — got two first-round picks as compensation for losing Wagner, which they used on Ball State’s Kolbrin Vitek and Middle Tennessee State’s Bryce Brentz. (Remember those names a few years from now.

This is why Omar needs to be relived of his GM duties and the baseball ops needs a complete overhaul. Unlike any time in baseball, teams a coveting receiving draft picks for aging ball players. The new wave in baseball is to get younger and more athletic as the ban on PED’s is changing the game back to where pitching, defense and youth as the way to go. That’s not Omar’s bag, he’s still into old and ineffective which unfortunately describes Omar himself.

(Fred) Wilpon was sued Friday by the widow of a former employee of Wilpon-owned Sterling Equities. The federal suit alleges Wilpon bears fiduciary responsibility for investing his employees’ 401(k) funds in Bernard Madoff-operated funds. Sterling Equities called the suit baseless, but the potential liability — coupled with the Wilpon family’s own losses in the Ponzi scheme — has to create some hesitance to freely spend.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

You knew this was coming and the question is if Freddy Skill Sets loses this suit, which I believe is a class action suit among the Sterling Equities employees, and it cost him hundreds of million’s of dollars to pay, will he have to sell the Mets? I believe Freddy when he says he wants the Mets to be in his family for generations to come, but it may come to a head when he has to either sell or take on a partner. The Mara family owned the NY Football Giants on their own for years and years but when Tim Mara died his estate put his shares up for bid, that’s when the Tisch family got their half, so it’s possible the Skill Sets sell 49% of the team and keep the other 51 % controlling interest for as long as they can.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

The one MAJOR move the Skill Sets must make for next season is dropping the ridiculous pricing tiers that are an extreme point of contention with Mets fans. The whole Platinum, Gold, Silver, Value scale would work if the team was a contender every year and seats at Citi Field were in demand but the organization has none of these going for them. They tried going the corporate route and it hasn’t worked. Now they need to try and win back the fan base, the blue collar core who frequented Shea Stadium who stick by you through thick and thin. The Skill Sets have had their fling with the Metro area elite and must now realize it’s time to get the REAL Mets fan back to support the team.  The Mets fan has the upper hand here and now Freddy, Jeffey and Uncle Saul have to come to us with hat in hand, and ask for our hard earned dough. They have never gotten it though their thick skulls that Mets fans are not about the Championships (although we all want to win one or ten of them) but we’re all about playing hard and playing with pride. That’s the one saving grace with the 2010 Mets team they have that quality.

Next year the Skill Sets need to let fans pick their own ticket packages and also set aside seats in the promenade for 5 bucks a piece. They could also sell a “roaming ticket” no seat but you can walk around and stand in centerfield or down each base line sort of a standing room ticket, they need to be creative to win fans back in 2011, time to turn on the Skill Sets charm fella’s

Manager Jerry Manuel, asked if the inaction was a signal the front office was content with the team as presently constituted or if it was an indication the team is not really in the race, wisely did not want to touch the issue.

“That’s a tricky question,” Manuel said. “Trying to catch me, huh?”

Minaya did acknowledge the standings were a factor.

“That played something into it,” the GM said. “When you look at the standings, you just have to be careful.”

I can’t wait until October 4th for the press conference announcing Wally Backman as the Mets manager for 2011

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Comments

  1. Excellent piece Steve.

    We’ll be fine for 2012 when the onerous contracts have run their course.

    Your pal,

    Michael

  2. Krane- is there any way that there’s a buyout for the last year of the K-Rod contract?

  3. kranepool says:

    Peter here is the K-Rod contract

    # 3 years/$37M (2009-11), plus 2012 option

    * signed by NY Mets as a free agent 12/9/08
    * $2M signing bonus
    * 09:$8.5M, 10:$11.5M, 11:$11.5M, 12:$17.5M option ($3.5M buyout)
    * 2012 option becomes guaranteed with:
    o 55 games finished in 2011, and
    o 100 games finished in 2010-11, and
    o doctors declare Rodriguez healthy after 2011

    * Rodriguez receives $3.5M termination buyout if 2012 option does not become guaranteed

  4. Let’s take a walk back 10 months. Jeff on WFAN, Oct. 5 2009, “We epect better, and our fans deserve better. Jerry has to step up, and Omar has to step up.” Now, during this years Act of Contrition talk, here’s my prediction. “We have decided to go in a different direction with our manager. Omar will be retained. He stepped up, and delivered a .500 season. We also feel that we have an excellent system, full of talent.”

    Herein lies the problem. Blind faith in an incompetent GM. The fact that they will not jettison Omar will keep the Mets where they are. You could say his power is diminished, blah, blah, blah….His presence means a good GM is NOT there, and we’re condemned to this shit for years to come.

    If they get rid of Omar and I’m wrong, I will happily buy a beer for anyone reading this. It’s not going to happen, folks. Omar will be back. The pictures he has of Fred in Vegas will rule the day. And that brings us back to the point. If you gave a contractor a ton of money to make your house nice, and he gave you a run-down piece of shit, would you continue to hire him? We’re dealing with Mets logic, here. Nothing makes sense.

    Their message yesterday was that they don’t believe in the team. Well, maybe we shouldn’t either. Holding on to prospects? Which ones? Don’t tell me about Wilmer Flores until he’s 20 or burns up AAA. And why is every other team able to get better? The Dodgers got Lilly and Theriot for DeWitt and propects, how come every Met prospect is all of sudden untouchable? Let me answer that, it is not at all about holding prospects. It’s about lousy contracts that have hamstrung the ability to get better.

    And who’s responsible for that? Please read above.

  5. Thanks Krane (I think)- can we just make K-Rod the long man out of the Bullpen? Screw the Union. These morons are gonna let him get his games in. I’m sweeping off my spot on the ledge. Aaaarrrrrgh!

  6. I csn understand this losing streak what with a West Coast trip and playing the 1st place D-Backs…wait…sorry…I had the newspaper upside down. You’d think that after all the Wilnots, Omar, & J-Man do for this team that the players would try harder. Gotta be Ho Jo’s fault. Well, we’ll just go & sweep the Braves.

  7. Krane,I agree totally. When hired he said team needs to get younger and more athletic, it is only now six years later it only sort of resembles that, sort of. THE GM NEEDS TO GO! I will worry about the manager after that. But he needs to go to, for different reasons, like cluelessness, but I digress.

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