In the winter of 2008 the Wilpon family was in Jeff Wilpon’s own words, “completely blindsided” by Bernie Madoff. All signs indicated that this was going to hurt the finances of the team, yet fans were told it would not. Here, from a New York Daily News article dated December 17, 2008, is what Jeff Wilpon had to say about it all.
“It’s not what we believe; it’s that we know what our financial position is,
“The individual partners lost some money at Madoff. But it doesn’t affect the Mets. It doesn’t affect the Citi Field project. It doesn’t affect (team-owned television network) SNY or any of our operating businesses.
“How is that possible? We have other money. Just because you guys don’t know how much money we have, we have other money and other funds outside of (the Mets).
“It’s called diversification.”
No, that is called lying. In a situation where the Wilpons were allegedly victimized, they lied about how much damage had been done to them. More importantly to Mets fans, they lied about how things would change around the team. That never stopped. They hired a GM who shares their “value system.” Spouting nonsense about where the team was heading became an organizational philosophy.
For a while some people believed the lies, eventually nobody did. That is the thing about constant lying. As I joked yesterday, these guys are running out of crap to say. And one consequence of the team’s belief in a culture of misinformation is that there is no good reason to waste much time on the “hot stove” season. For Mets fans right now it is a waste of brainpower.
Think about it. Are we now the Royals? If so, we are never going to behave as a big market team again, and thoughts must be adjusted. Fans of the Royals know they are not getting Brian McCann and that is that, they don’t worry about if he is a good signing. So one way to approach the winter is to think of the Mets as the Royals.
On the other hand fans of the Yankees could debate McCann as a viable option ahead of time, knowing it was an actual possibility. And nobody from the Mets has told us we will never spend again. And of course this is not Kansas City. Logic and common sense makes a person think things will change one day. But since nobody has been straight with us all along, we have no actual proof if that is true. That leaves fans in limbo.
As an example let’s use Rafael Montero. If our financial distress has an end date I believe Montero should begin the year at Citi Field. He is young and talented and would also make the major league minimum in 2014. But if our financial distress is permanent, then I think he should remain in Las Vegas for as long as possible. If payroll is always going to be an issue, we have to delay all of our players’ service time as much as we can. This is how teams such as Kansas City and Tampa Bay operate.
But I don’t know the situation, I have no idea of when things will change, and the team has proven time and again they are not going to tell me the truth. So if someone asks me what Sandy Alderson should do with Montero, I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t have enough information.
In general I see the entire winter that way. Maybe we are done already. Maybe Chris Young is the only move that can be afforded. But maybe not, maybe some dollars really are available. Eventually we will find out.
Until then, all we can do is wait.