Keidel: Time For Sandy To Be Handy

By Jason Keidel
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To the jaded and jilted Mets fan, the recent revelations about the Mets, Madoff, and money create a portal through which opulent and competent people will buy the team from the limping Wilpons. If only it were that easy.

Since I’m not Neil Cavuto I can’t tell you the precise monetary implications. And since I’m not a lawyer I can’t paint the legal cauldron Fred Wilpon is in. But any layman can safely assert that the Mets are in trouble.

And since Mr. Wilpon’s pockets just shrunk in the shadow of these troubles, the future of the Mets will pivot on a person not at all involved: Sandy Alderson.

Unless you have a bottomless bankroll like the Yankees, your club’s future is shaped by your farm system. Never was this point more important than in 2011 for the Metropolitans.

If Fred Wilpon keeps the status quo (and about $140 million payroll) the Mets still need young arms and bats from Binghamton and beyond. If Wilpon shaves payroll to cover his financial hide, the team still needs a youth movement.

Even before the public S.O.S. from ownership, Alderson said, in so many words, that 2011 was a lost season No one expects the Mets to finish much above .500. There is too much dead weight on the team, too many players linked to the titanic chokes over the last few years.

Were any of you appeased when you heard Wilpon say he’s wants to sell a small stake of the team? “Strategic partner” is the term he used – a euphemism for, “Dude, I’m broke and I need some cash.”

Martin Silver – perhaps we can call him “Martini” Silver because he made his money from vodka – is a rich man from Long Island who wants to collect the shards from a shattered franchise. But he is not going to save the Mets. Buying 25 percent of a crumbling team is a cosmetic fix, a band-aid on a tumor.

The problem isn’t that Wilpon didn’t spend money; he didn’t spend it properly. The Yankees can afford Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano, etc. The Mets were felled by galling commitments to Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Carlos Beltran. (Beltran was once a great player, of course, but he’s now a nearly $20 million anchor around the corporate neck.) Those contracts come off the books in October. Replacing them with solid free agents and pumping young blood into the aging club, the Mets could easily add ten wins in 2012.

Alderson holds the keys to the kingdom. The Mets made a colossal investment in the front office, a managerial “Dream Team.” Every brain cell from the think tank will be needed to revive the moribund Mets.

Silver said the Mets are worth less than they were a few years ago ($850 million), and they are struggling to get fannies in the cushy and pricey seats of Citi Field. Slashing prices, from seats to soda to pretzels, would be a good place to start. What they don’t make in money they can make up in mojo. A full house looks good no matter what they paid to enter, whereas an empty seat is an enemy.

This also fortifies the case for Wally Backman, who, in the absence of any galloping studs from the farm, could have pulled on the heart (and purse) strings of a nostalgic fan base who would have at least one reminder of when the Mets were great. A sterile Terry Collins hardly blasts adrenaline into the franchise. But if he’s the teacher of young talent Alderson says he is, he could serve a long-term purpose.

At the risk of sounding Pollyannaish, this could be the start of a special time for the Mets. You may recall that the Yanks got good once King George was banned from baseball over the Howie Spira scandal. Fine baseball men like Bob Watson and Gene Michael built the Bombers into a power. How? The farm system, from which the fruits grew into the Core Four.

Maybe the Mets have something similar. You gotta believe. Right?

Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com

Can the Mets turn their struggling franchise around? Sound off in the comments below!

pixy Keidel: Time For Sandy To Be Handy
Comments

One Comment

  1. Kurt Spitzner says:

    Hey Big Joe,
    I loved the team from the beginning until 69 and when I say bring the old team back thats the era and feeling that I am looking for as a lifetime fan.As far as ownership goes theres no arguing who was good,bad or indifferent but I am sure we must agree that its time for a change.And as far as a team goes show me a bunch of guys who really want to play this wonderful game of baseball,and not a bunch over overpaid prima donnas,and they can win like they did back in the 60’s and that will be fine with me!Thats when baseball was still a game!Brooklyn Dodgers have absolutely nothing to do with it as they were before my time!

  2. Big Joe says:

    Kurt Spitzner, you say you want you’re old team back. Are you aware that before Wilpon bought the Mets with Doubleday, they sucked, I mean really, really sucked, losing between 95 to 100 games a year. During that time they traded the best player in the teams history, Tom Seaver, because the Mets did not want to pay him. Also and more important, the Mets history is that they are a bad losing team with a record of 300 games under .500 in their 50 years. Bring my old team back, now that’s funny. Brooklyn Dodgers & NY Giants history are not part of the N.Y Mets history

  3. Kurt Spitzner says:

    I agree with the notion whole heartedly Fred,but people like Gil Meche unfortunately are unique in this world that we all now live in!And I think the best we can expect is that the new regime rids us of oliver prerez and f.rodriguez! I also believe we can deal with Luis for another year or part if he can’t be dealt but the other two have got to go,but as I always say this is merely my opinion!

  4. Fred says:

    Maybe the Mets will get lucky, and Ollie and Luis will look at the classy move that Gil Meche just made, realize their careers are over and retire. But, I seriously doubt that will happen.

  5. Kurt Spitzner says:

    THE ONLY WAY THE METS WILL TURN THSI AROUND IN TIME FOR ME AND MY FAMILY TO STAY INVOLVED AFTER A WHOLE LIFETIME AS A TRUE METS FAN IS IF THE WILPONS EITHER SELL 100% OR DIVEST THEMSELVES TO THE POINT WHERE THEY ARE NO LONGER IN CONTROL OF EVERDAY AFFAIRS!MY FAMILIES LAST GAME WAS THE FINAL DAY AT SHEA AND SINCE THEN THE TEAM HAS BEEN MISMANAGED AND RUN SO PORLY THAT THEY ARE NOT FIT TO BE THE yankees FARM TEAM AND I BLAME THE WILPONS,AND ALL OF THOSE THEY PUT IN PLACE TO HELP PERPETRATE THE FRAUD THAT IS NOW KNOW AS THE NY METS!I WANT MY OLD TEAMS BACK AND IF THEY DON’T WIN THATS FINE AS LONG AS THEY LOOK FAIRLY COMPETANT AND AT LEAST TRY!

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