What Jeff Wilpon Should’ve Said
About a week ago, I wrote an article detailing the efforts Jeff Wilpon undertook to avoid the media. Seeing his quotes from the luncheon with Mets beat writers, we better understand why Jeff Wilpon undertakes such efforts.
In that press conference, he conveyed conflicting messages, threw his captain under the bus, and generally speaking left Mets fans angrier at the team than they originally had been.
The sad part is it didn’t have to be that way. Jeff Wilpon must’ve known he was going to speak at this luncheon, and therefore had sufficient time to better choose his words. Here’s what he should have said:
On Mets Fans
I understand the frustration because I’m frustrated too. I can tell you no one in this organization saw a 92 loss season coming. Because of that, we made changes. We brought in Mickey Callawayto be the manager and Dave Eiland to be the pitching coach.
More importantly, with all the injuries we had, we have gone out and brought in a new training staff. And remember, when healthy, this is a postseason team.
I think when Mets fans see the team we bring to Spring Training, they’ll be as excited for the 2018 season as I am.
On the Budget
There has been much written and said about the payroll. I understand where people are coming from, but there are things everyone needs to take into account.
Like any other rebuilding team, we had a lower payroll. As we knew were getting closer to contention, we went out and began getting players like Curtis Granderson, who helped us become contenders.
As our window opened, we began to increase payroll. Every year since 2014, we have increased payroll. In 2015 and 2016, when we had a chance of going to the postseason, we expanded payroll by making in-season trades for players like Cespedes and Bruce.
Also, we have gone the extra mile when necessary. On two separate occasions, we made Cespedes the highest salaried outfielder in baseball. We brought back Jerry Blevinslast year, and we brought back Bruce this year. We always have been willing to go the extra mile when the opportunity presents itself. If it presents itself again, we’re going to do it.
At the end of the day, I can assure fans that we will have a payroll that will help us to compete for a World Series title next year.
On the Correlation between Spending and Winning
I think we have all learned the lesson that spending does not automatically correlate to wins. There have been many years where we have had a top payroll, and we didn’t even finish over .500.
Personally, I believe winning is more about having the right decision makers in place. The Mets have that with Sandy Alderson. Under his direction, we went to a World Series in 2015, and we returned to the postseason the following year.
In 2017, which was the highest payroll in team history, we didn’t make the postseason. I believe we were snake bit with all the injuries. It happens. We just have to learn and grow from it; not throw money at the problem.
On the Offseason
So far, we have strengthened the bullpen with Swarzak. We have improved the outfield with Bruce, who was great for us last year. Overall, we have spent more money on free agents than any other team this offseason.
And I can unequivocally say we are not done looking for ways to improve this team.
On David Wright
People may not want to hear this, but so long as David Wrightwants to play baseball, we are going to keep the door open for him.
Now, there are certain allowances that need to be made. If Wright can play, that’s $20 million in our payroll. And yes, that means we have to consider his salary both when setting the budget and constructing our roster.
Wright is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Mets uniform. He has earned the right to say when he’s done. I’m never going to stand in his way because one of my greatest joys as an owner has been watching his career.
More than that I believe in him, and I’m rooting for him as all Mets fans should. He’s an important part of our history, and God willing, an important part of our future.
Now, I’m not saying all Mets fans should like these answers. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t.
With that said, they would at least convey a sense of purpose, direction, and more than anything hope. Instead, we got from Jeff Wilpon a moving target on the budget with him putting partial blame on a hurt David Wright who is fighting for his career. Overall, Jeff Wilpon really confirmed every Mets fans worst assumptions.
Ownership won’t invest what it needs to invest this team in order to win. More than that they confirmed for many this is a team that is rudderless so long as the Wilpons are in charge. Worse than that, they have no issue throwing an injured player in front of a bus.