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Jeff Wilpon breaks silence on Mets’ payroll

Boy did he have a lot to say.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

One day after the Mets’ ownership was ranked as one of the worst in baseball according to a Fangraphs poll, COO Jeff Wilpon finally broke his silence on a contentious topic with fans: payroll.

This has been a winter of discontent between fans and ownership with the team seemingly content to rest on its laurels, while some notable free agents have found homes elsewhere for reasonable deals. For example, Carlos Santana signed with the rival Phillies for three years and $60 million, whereas the Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez to a one year deal for the league minimum. Yes, Jay Bruce returned and there are plenty of free agents left on the market, but the Mets’ recent track record does not give them the benefit of the doubt.

Adding fuel to fans’ ire this offseason, was a scathing article written by Marc Carig in which he addressed the Wilpons’ hesitancy to spend and the lack of transparency and accountability with the notoriously reclusive owners.

All of that changed when Jeff Wilpon spoke to reporters and addressed topics all related to the Mets’ payroll. If the goal was to quell the rising tide of anger by becoming more transparent, then today’s press conference did little to accomplish that.

He started out by saying the payroll could roughly be what it was at the start of last season which was around $155 million. He also put a qualifier on that saying it could be also be $10 million less. The first statement is problematic since in August of last season, Sandy Alderson addressed the media and said they were over budget last season and he had to agree to shed contracts if the Mets were out of contention by the trade deadline.

Another topic Wilpon addressed was the David Wright situation. A portion of the fanbase has surprisingly turned on the captain, and Wilpon’s statements regarding the franchise player will not help in that regard. The multi-millionaire said the cost of the insurance policy on Wright is “not cheap,” and despite getting money back from that policy, the money isn’t necessarily reinvested into the team.

Back in 2013, Fred Wilpon addressed the media to speak about the financial situation after their involvement in the Bernie Madoff situation came to light. During the conference he insinuated that payroll would increase if attendance at Citi Field increased. Fast forward five years and once again the onus was placed on fans if they want to see a better product on the field.

It was then GM Sandy Alderson’ turn to address the media and he too did little to clear up the perceptions surrounding the front office.

This statement is seemingly to refute reports that a trade for Indians’ second baseman Jason Kipnis got nixed by the Mets’ “higher-ups” after they voiced concerns over Kipnis’ value.

After tempering fans’ expectations earlier in the offseason, Alderson defended the spending that was done so far this season and he also said that they are monitoring the free agent market.

Successful or not, actually speaking to the press is a step in the right direction for this beleaguered ownership group, but unfortunately for them they have wasted any credibility they once had. Until their actions back up their words, they will remain but patronizing words on a page.