The always insightful Howard Megdal has written what can only be read as a demoralizing piece on the state of the Mets for all who care about the team’s ability to sustain any semblance of long-run success.
To wit, even assuming that the Mets are able to marginally improve their offense in the coming days and years — no small question mind you given the depressing content of Megdal’s article — it appears the best us fans can hope for is a fleeting period of winning, given the inability of the Mets to re-sign the pitching currently coming through the pipeline.
Indeed, it appears that we are now past the state of grieving, having moved on to acceptance: All are resigned to the fact that the Wilpons will not put forth the resources necessary to ensure a franchise capable of competing on a yearly basis.
As Megdal notes, this is evidenced not just in manager Terry Collins stunningly already admitting that the Mets may not be able to re-sign The Franchise™ years in advance of his free agency, but in the fact that those who follow the team on a daily basis all silently acknowledge that the Mets’ poor finances loom over every baseball decision considered.
It is the elephant we all would rather ignore at first base, shortstop, the outfield, and even perhaps at the Citi Field perimeter.
With all of this in mind, we the fans, as well as the media ought to be demanding that Major League Baseball answer the following questions:
1) Is it acceptable to Major League Baseball that the Mets play in the largest sports market in the nation yet maintain a payroll in the bottom third of the league, behind teams that play in such locals as Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minnesota?
2) How can the Mets’ owners be considered sound and prudent stewards of a Major League Baseball club — with Fred Wilpon worthy of running the league’s finance committee — given the Wilpons’ apparent lack of judgment in investing not once but twice in Ponzi schemes?
3) Are the Mets constrained at all financially by covenants in the debt documents governing the team’s loans? If not, will Major League Baseball make the Mets’ debt documents public? In lieu of such disclosures, will Major League Baseball make public the total debt encumbering the team and all related entities, as well as relevant leverage metrics?
4) What evidence can you point to that indicates that the Mets have the willingness and ability to spend funds commensurate with other competitive teams throughout Major League Baseball?
5) Would an inability to retain crucial free agents — let alone sign additional ones — concern Major League Baseball? More broadly, are there any financial events at all that would precipitate Major League Baseball considering the forced sale of the club?
If Major League Baseball were forced to address these questions, it would likely obfuscate.
That obfuscation however would at least indicate that the Mets and Major League Baseball’s continued support of the Mets should be subject to significantly higher scrutiny than they have been to date.
I for one would love for Mets ownership and Major League Baseball to prove us wrong.
But I would not bet on it.