THE METS – RANTING, SELLING & TRADING
You have to say this for Mets owner Fred Wilpon; he’s a standup guy. When news leaked of Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker article on the Mets in which Wilpon got in digs at Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright, he did not wimp out and say that he was misquoted. “Frustrated Fred” was merely channeling his inner Steinbrenner.
While the Toobin piece generated the buzz, Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated penned the more troublesome article on the Mets owner. The piece was fairly sympathetic to Wilpon but he made it clear that he expects his team to lose $70 million (don’t ask me if that is actually a true cash loss or it that figure includes such items as depreciation and other big asset amortizations and write-offs) and that he wants the Mets 2012 payroll to be around $100 million.
The SI article means that Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez are certain to be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline. Mets GM Sandy Alderson tried to minimize the damage by saying that he has not ruled out making Reyes a long-term offer but you get the feeling that was just window dressing so that other teams won’t make him a bottom-of-the-barrel trade offer.
A few years ago the knock on the Mets was that they were imitating the Yankees by trying to sign high-priced free agents. I have a feeling that the Mets will now be copying the way the Pirates and the Royals do business. I can barely wait for the Mets’ inevitable fire sale and Sandy Alderson’s comments after it takes place. You can be sure that he’ll be claiming that Mets fans will soon fall in love with the young, hungry players that he acquired. I wonder if he’ll have the temerity to use that hoary baseball “five-tool player” cliché.
While Fred Wilpon did find his white knight minority owner in David Einhorn (it’s good to see that he hasn’t lost faith in hedge fund operators) it’s unlikely that cash infusion will be used for players’ salaries. This looks like a straight equity for debt reduction swap.
Depressed Mets fans who want something to divert their interests might want to try following the Red Bulls of Major League Soccer who play their home games in beautiful Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey just outside of Newark and easily accessible via PATH. The team is led by prolific goal scorer Thierry Henry.
Even if soccer is your least favorite sport it is worth going to a Red Bulls game for the sheer entertainment value. The spectators who fill the seats behind the visiting goalie never stop singing and dancing. Two weeks ago when the Red Bulls were playing the Colorado Rapids these talented folks broke into soccer versions of “Walking In A Winter Wonderland” and the Peggy March oldie “I Will Follow Him.” They were better than most Broadway casts! Like hockey, soccer is infinitely more enjoyable in person than on television.