The Business of the Mets

The Mets have been written off, likely to finish in last place after the 2018 season concludes.  The Nationals are still really good.  The Braves are getting better and better, the Phillies have improved too and recently signed guitarist Carlos Santana to play first base.  Well alright, the Marlins are once again selling off the franchise so maybe the Mets finish in fourth.

Or maybe they actually do better.  Mets fans are angry and I can’t blame them.  I’m angry too and here’s why.  The Mets just aren’t the Yankees when it comes to spending money and likely will never be unless the Mets are sold to a billionaire who loves baseball and never want’s to lose.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  So with that we make a choice to follow the Mets or the Yankees or some other team that spends more.

Now look, none of this means the Mets cannot compete in 2018.  They were in the World Series just two seasons ago and made the playoffs in 2016 too, losing the wildcard game.  Last season became a disaster because of a number of reasons.  First and foremost were all the injuries.  How can you win when most of the starting staff and the star left fielder were either on the DL or hampered by injuries.  The bullpen, as typically handled by Terry Collins, was a complete mess.  Then it was learned after the season that the clubhouse had become somewhat fractured and perhaps Collins no longer had the players back anymore.  Of course that can often happen during a losing season.

So in the shadow of the Yankees getting superstar Giancarlo Stanton to play along with superstar Aaron Judge, the Mets signed a very decent relief pitcher in Anthony Swarzak.  GM Sandy Alderson wants to build up the bullpen to support the starting staff. Okay, he’s done that and is likely not done brining in new players.  They have also been actively looking for a second baseman and may reunite with Jay Bruce.  Not bad moves and if all the pitchers, Yoenis Cespedes, and Michael Conforto (when he comes back) stay healthy, there is no reason to think the Mets cannot be competitive in 2018.

Now if the Mets want to sign Mike Moustakas to play third base, I’m not going to stand in their way.  I’ll even take Todd Frazier.  But either are not likely.  The Mets use a model of basing their salary on advanced ticket sales, TV revenue, merchandising, and whatever else is an income source.  Many teams do this.  What I don’t get is the thinking.  How does not signing Moustakas or a similar impact free agent foster selling more tickets?  It seems to me that if the front office shows an unwillingness to invest in the team, the fans are not going to clamor to buy tickets ahead of time.  However, a lot of bitching and moaning Mets faithful would reconsider say a Moustakas and a Darvish were coming to Flushing.  How do you think the Yankees’ ticket office did once it was announced that Stanton would be donning the pinstripes?

The New York Post had an article indicating that Fred Wilpon was aghast that the Yankees traded for Stanton and took on a 265 million dollar salary.  Really Fred?  You’re shocked by that?  How long have you lived in New York?  Maybe instead of complaining that the Yankee model can’t be sustained you should take a page from it.  I’m not saying the Mets should become the Yankees but just be a bit more flexible and take a risk or two that could payoff big dividends.

Whether the Mets pick up more impact free agents or not, I still think they will be better next season. How much better is hard to predict.  Hopefully the Mets will make some smart moves before spring training to get those tickets going out the door.

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