As any fan knows, there is nothing worse than seeing your team play poorly. From seeing disgustingly bad box score numbers to being disrespected on the radio, TV and internet, teams that perform poorly are treated like they are some sort of human subspecies.
Lets just say as a New York Mets and Jets fan, I know a little too much about this side of sports.
In the case of the Mets, they are terrible, again, this season. The situation is so dire that today on the radio, Mets fans were calling up and buzzing about how they felt the team could turn the corner. . .after three wins.
If this is not a sign of a desperate fan base, then I do not know what is.
Coming in to the season, no one had high or even any expectations for the club, including myself. The organization has been criticized for its lack of spending on talented players as well as the past few years under Sandy Alderson‘s regime. However, the team’s plans have been well documented in that they are developing prospects, and at the point where these players are reaching the majors, they will begin to dole out money.
Another reason that the Mets have been wary of spending money, despite being a major market team, is because of poor financial decisions of the past. While the success of the 2006 team was due to big spending on Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner and others, the more recent free agent signings have been disastrous.
Topping the list is Jason – excuse me while I hold back vomit – Bay.
They signed him to a four-year, $66 million contract. After a career season in Boston, nobody could hate the deal. Before being terminated in the first three years of this contract, he hit .234, 26 home runs and 124 RBIs in 986 at-bats. Upon leaving the Mets, Bay is owed $21 million (2013 salary, 2014 buyout and outstanding signing bonus).
To compound this issue is Johan Santana.
With hindsight being 20/20, I would still make that deal as they acquired him after their epic collapse in 2007, in which having an ace like Santana could have ensured that they made the playoffs. The downside of acquiring a player of that talent is the money: six years, $137.5 million.
The larger issue, however, is that over the life of his contract, he experienced many injuries that cut his career and many seasons as a Met short. After missing two full seasons (2013 and 2011), he led the NL in ERA in 2008 (30 starts), but had both the 2009 and 2010 seasons cut short by injury. Last season, he did throw a no-hitter, but was not the same pitcher afterwards and his season was ended prematurely.
The graphic below shows the gravity of this salary situation. With that amount of financial committment to players who are not contributing, as well as the fact that the past free agent periods have not had absolute studes and that the Mets are in a rebuilding mode, it makes sense to wait to spend money.
The Mets financial issues have caused the team to be in a state of paralysis. Once these are alleviated and Mets young talent is ripe for the picking, I look forward to the team spending money and competing once again.
If not, watch for e heads to roll.