Say it ain’t so Freddy!! Wilpon and the doomed NY Mets
This week in the New Yorker, renowned journalist Jeffery Toobin profiled Mets owner Fred Wilpon and the collapsing New York Met franchise. What has come out of that feature, proves that the Mets are one of the most poorly run organizations in the history of sports. Bad front office hiring, poor financial dealings, terrible free agent moves, and general failure have plagued the New York Mets for a decade but Wilpon’s recent quotes in the New Yorker article may have as big a negative impact on the team as anything that has occurred to date.
Wilpon, in a moment of utter stupidity and ill-advised honestly made a few completely valid statements assessing his star players and team. He said Jose Reyes isn’t worth Carl Crawford money (7 years, $142 million). He said Carlos Beltran has totally underperformed his contract, that the contract was a mistake, and that he isn’t close to the player he once was. He said David Wright is a good guy but not a superstar. He also reffered to the team as “shitty.” The problem with these statements is not their content. In many ways he echoed the exact sentiments of his fan base and many talent assessors around the league. The problem is that he said them to a major journalist from an influential publication. The even bigger problem is that the organization even allowed a journalist of Toobin’s stature any access to Fred IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! In the midst of a potentially crippling 1 billion dollar lawsuit, the last thing the organization needs is a savvy writer poking around for information. Did the Mets REALLY think that an in depth piece about Fred’s rise to power and their current financial situation would do something positive for them in the public’s eye? And then, to make matters worse, their apparently useless PR team didn’t have the foresight to prepare Wilpon for prying questions about the Mets on the field woes!! How could it not have been drilled into Wilpon’s head to keep the organizations true feelings about their players under wraps. An organization with that sort of leadership and lack of preparation is fatally flawed.
Now that the statements are out, a number consequences have befallen the Mets. Consequence one: they have irreparably damaged their relationships with the players named. David Wright, who has been nothing but loyal, playing with a broken back for the last month for this team, has said time and again that he wants to finish his career with the Mets. Jose Reyes has said the same. Will Wright or Reyes take a hometown discount now? If the franchise could even muster the money to match other teams, do they still feel obligated to stay? NO! Consequence Two: they have somehow lowered their reputation in the eyes of free agents even lower than it already was. What star player would chose equal money to go to the Mets when they regard their star players so poorly IN THE PUBLIC!!!??? NONE. Consequence three: they have devalued their assets and made it even more difficult to rebuild going forward. Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran are three of the most valuable trade assets the Mets have. Now that they’ve made it clear how they feel about those players, do potential trade partners reassess their value? Do potential trade partners become less inclined to offer up upper echelon prospects for these players? YES and YES.
Bud Selig is friends with Fred Wilpon and feels that the Mets’ financial situation can be resolved without league intervention. That may be so, but is it really in MLBs best interest to have such a baffoon running one of its New York franchises? The league needs to make the Wilpons sell controlling interest of that team because the Mets should be contending and generating revenue for league. As of now they require constant supervision and make the league look bad in the press. Something needs to change.