No more #LolMets: A fed up fan goes off on his favorite team
This week the New York Mets made a few trades in an effort to improve their roster. Most notable was a trade they didn’t make however. Wednesday night reports surfaced that the Mets had agreed in principal to a trade for the Brewers all-star centerfielder Carlos Gomez. The deal was in many estimations a “home run.” Gomez instantly became the Mets best position player, he filled the duel needs of a center fielder and a bat for the middle of the lineup and he was under a reasonable contract for next year as well which meant that unlike some of their other deals, they weren’t sacrificing the future for a short term fix. Almost as soon as it was reported, the deal fell through.
Initial reports were that the Mets were scared off by Gomez’s medical history, specifically a hip injury. Maybe this is true, however reports more recently have leaked stating that the Mets asked the Brewers for money in the deal, that they weren’t happy with acquiring one of the 40 best players in baseball, that they needed the Milwaukee fucken Brewers to offset some of the cost of Gomez’s contract. I wouldn’t be inclined to believe this except that the Mets reportedly demanded the Athletics do the same thing in their trade for Tyler Clippard a week before and even included a better prospect as compensation. The Mets, a team in the largest market in the country is pinching pennies and demanding straight cash homey from two of the poorest teams in the league. Acquiring cash to use for other aspects of the team is a smart move but when your frugality is hurting the short and long term product that you put on the field that is a problem.
The elephant in the room is the Wilpons’ financial troubles after the Bernie Madoff situation. They have been shedding payroll for years, going from top 5 in 2010 to 19th this year. At first this made sense, the initial stages of the owners financial crisis coincided with the ending of a run in which management blindly threw money at every problem with no real plan on how it would work out. The team and its bloated payroll and decrepit farm system needed to be torn down and rebuilt and it makes little sense to spend a lot of money on a team that won’t contend anyway. If you can find anything I wrote at the time I was fully in support of almost all decisions to control costs and build through the farm system and when the time was right and the prospects were ready, to start spending money again. The problem is that the latter part never happened.
Being able to spend more money than your opponents is an advantage in sports. There’s exceptions to the rule but generally speaking the teams that spend the most in leagues without salary restrictions tend to have the most success. The most talented players get paid the most and the teams with the most talent generally tend to win. As baseball has evolved and management types have become smarter they have devised more and more ways to use their huge financial advantage in their favor. The Dodgers managed to improve their starting pitching without giving up any prospects of note by simply agreeing to take on dead salary from the cheap as fuck Marlins. The Red Sox have been thumbing their nose at the international signing rules because the only penalty is financial and the Red Sox basically print their own currency at this point. The Braves, hardly a beacon of financial excess simply by agreeing to take on the salary of another player the Diamondbacks didn’t want. This doesn’t include some smart things that clubs like the Cubs and Phillies (the frickin Phillies!) are doing with money to improve their organizations.
The Mets are not only doing none of these things they aren’t even spending money the conventional way. There is no reason a team in the country’s largest market should have the 19th highest payroll. The Mets are closer in payroll to the Marlins who have the lowest payroll and were described as “cheap as fuck” in the last paragraph than the Tigers who have the fifth highest payroll. It’s one thing to not spend money on high priced free agents who may be poor long term investments but it’s another when you pinch pennies and demand that some of the poorest clubs in baseball throw in money in trades to help with your payroll. Maybe the reports that came out this week are not true and maybe Gomez’s hip is really an issue but this ownership group doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore. I am all out of fucks to give and tears to cry for a billionaire that got funding from the city to help fund his stadium and is now crying poor because he trusted the wrong scumbag to manage his money.
There’s no honor in sticking with a bad sports franchise. This isn’t what we are used to being told, the passion and loyalty that sports fan exhibit, especially for struggling teams is seen as a point of pride, a badge of honor. “Bandwagon fans” are viewed with scorn and derision. I’m not here to tell you to move your loyalty from team to team like Drake or Kenny Chesney, what I’m here to tell you is that it’s ok to expect more of your franchise and specifically their owners. The way the Wilpons are running the Mets is an embarrassment and I don’t think the franchise has any chance of turning things around as long as they own the team. The fans of this franchise certainly deserve better.