As we sit here waiting for this painful season to end and wait for the off-season to begin the Mets have quite a few questions that need to be answered. Unfortunately the biggest question is probably one we as fans have no way of knowing…. how did Bernard Madoff effect the finances of the team and how will that effect our 2010 payroll. As we know the Wilpon family reportedly lost between 300-700 million dollars so while a cut in payroll would be painful, being fair it would probably be justified.
However, taking the “human” element out of it, myself as a fan could really care less about the finances of Fred and Jeff Wilpon. The Mets according to Forbes magazine are worth close to 1 billion dollars, so if money is such an issue…. sell. If the Williams sisters can buy a piece of the Dolphins how about Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin James and Chris Rock anteing up for part of the team? How about Mexican billionaire (and baseball fan) Carlos Slim? Since we don’t know what the payroll will be next year it has become more difficult than usual to formulate a “realistic” off-season plan. If the Mets are willing to keep their payroll at the 130-140 million dollar mark then they can be in on the Matt Holliday’s, Jason Bay’s and John Lackey’s of the world and still fill other holes on the team.
If however the payroll will be slashed from 137 (or so) to around 120 (as rumored) the Mets should think long and hard about trading Carlos Beltran. I, myself am a HUGE Carlos Beltran fan and to this day feel he is greatly underrated by Mets fans. That said outside of Beltran and Johan Santana (a contract that can’t be traded for value due to the amount of years left), the Mets “core” is young.
By trading Beltran (not in a salary dump, but for legit talent to a team like the Red Sox, Cubs etc) the Mets would have about double the money to spend that they would have normally (recent projections have the Mets with 20-25 million to spend on FA) and also potentially free up money to resign both Jose Reyes and David Wright. Now let me clarify, if the Mets finances are fine and the Wilpon’s have the ability to spend then I want to keep Carlos Beltran. Remember, Carlos Beltran will be a FA in 2 seasons. Do I believe he will be good next year at 33 and the following year at 34? Absolutely. But dealing with Scott Boras likely means he will aim for 4-5-seasons added to that which should cause the Mets some reason to pause.
But with a weak FA market with only two”premiere” bats and 1 “premiere” pitcher, the Mets may be better off using 2010 as a true “rebuilding” year allowing players who are likely not 100% ready (Josh Thole, Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese and later in the season Brad Holt, Jenrry Mejia, Ike Davis and Reese Havens) to get significant playing time.
I am not throwing away the 2010 season at all. The Mets absolutely can compete even with a reduced payroll. This more a matter of “is 2010 worth more than POTENTIALLY reloading for 2011 and beyond?”