Fred Wilpon is making the claim that the Mets financial problems are much diminished, and have no effect on the team. He had previously claimed that financial problems would have no effect on the team. In between the Wilpons admitted their financial problems would affect the team, and the Mets let Jose Reyes, the reining batting champion, popular homegrown player and player who wanted to be here, walk rather than match a contract offer from the Marlins.
Although the Mets financial problems are much diminished, the team failed to sign an established outfielder over the winter, so their major league payroll will be doing down again. The claim is made that everything that has happened, from trading rather than paying Cy Young award winner RA Dickey to not paying the price that various additions would have required, was due to baseball considerations. Not to cut payroll. And there are good arguments for that, with the exception of losing Reyes when the financial problems were at their worst.
And one counter argument. If the money really is there to be spent on the team, but there is nothing worth spending it on at the major league level, what are they going to do with it? What is going to happen to the extra $12 to $15 million that is supposedly in the budget?
I have a suggestion. Go overslot in the draft and international singings and pay the penalty. Just this year, and perhaps next year. The Mets didn't want to lose $2.3 million in allowed slot money and a draft choice to sign a player. If $2.3 million was worth that much, how much would $12 million to $15 million be worth, even with the penalty?
Some other owners may object that by doing so the Mets would by obeying the letter of the law and not its spirit. But one reason the franchise ended up in a diminished state is that the Mets played good soldier to the voluntary overslot system, and obeyed the spirit of the law before there even was a letter. Meanwhile, going overslot big-time would please the very fans most likely to support the patient, build for the long-term approach the Mets have finally decided to -- or been forced to -- take.