Zack Wheeler Leaving Is A Great Day Because The Wilpons Sold The Mets

Today should have been a terrible day in Mets history. Despite his desperately wanting to stay with the Mets, the team made no offer to Zack Wheeler. That was even the case with him accepting a discounted deal he gave the Mets to match or beat.

Still, even with Wheeler leaving, today was one of the greatest days in New York Mets history. In fact, it may be better than the day Tom Seaver fell into the Mets laps, Cleon Jones caught Davey Johnson‘s fly ball, Mookie Wilson hit a little dribbler up the first base line, Jesse Orosco threw his glove in the air, or the day the Mets obtained Mike Piazza.

If this seems like hyperbole, it isn’t, at least not too much of it. As we saw in 1980 when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets, ownership means everything in pro sports. One day, you’re completely irrelevant playing in Grant’s Tomb, and the next, you’re in the greatest stretch in franchise history obtaining Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter to help the team win the second World Series in franchise history.

These types of things were no longer possible. Not really. Between Jeff Wilpon’s mismanagement and the extremely restricted finances in the wake of the Madoff scandal, the Mets couldn’t continue a prolonged run.

After that shocking 2015 pennant, the Mets lost the Wild Card Game the following year and were under .500 in each of the successive two years. Much of the reason why was a series of penny wise pound foolish decisions.

That can now change with Steve Cohen increasing his ownership share in the Mets from 4% to 80%. With that the Mets went from the Wilpons who are not billionaires to someone who is the richest owner in baseball.

This means it’s no longer a fait accompli Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto are as good as gone when they hit free agency. It means there’s a good chance Jacob deGrom gets the chance David Wright never did – to be the face of a Mets team truly dedicated to winning.

The Wilpons are gone or soon will be. With them leaving and being replaced by a man with deep pockets and an ability to properly run an organization, anything is possible.

For his part, it’s sad Wheeler won’t get to experience it. For Mets fans, we can’t wait to see what happens next. That’s not a position we’ve really ever been in since the team moved to Citi Field.

2 thoughts on “Zack Wheeler Leaving Is A Great Day Because The Wilpons Sold The Mets”

  1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Ha! Called it, after the smoke cleared following Wag’s hire and especially after they made a few more moves wrt salaries and how they were paid out.

    Picking Wags to GM only made sense, even for the peculiar Wilpons, if they were moving on from the Mets and were going to focus on their return on investment rather than actually winning baseball games. (Wags role in supplementing Fred’s judgment, too, rather than leaving the team increasingly to the blatantly incompetent Jeff was an obvious aspect of the move.) The only shame in this is that the Wilpons will retain their roles for 5 years. But no one puts up as much money as Cohen will in this deal without specific guarantees about things like salary, meaning the Wilpons don’t get to exercise their “judgment” and trade the farm system just to skim a little more at the concession stands, or drop payroll to 13m by packaging everyone making more than the minimum with prospects. It’ll be interesting to see what those specific guarantees are–whether they’ll be leaked, or if they’re limits we can discern from this offseason’s moves.

    In addition, before the news about Cohen, there were rumors that the Wilpons were looking to cut payroll. Given they’ve dumped players near the deadline in seasons where they weren’t contending, and dumped them in order to claw back a few million rather than beef up the farm system (one reason for its being weaker than it had to be over the last decade), it shouldn’t have surprised anyone if they sent Familia packing by attaching Giminez and pocketed the $20m.

    Other things portended a sale, such as the 2018-19 offseason, when instead of just signing a reliever and 2Bman for cash when plenty were available they effectively sold off Dunn and Kelenic in order to cut payroll specifically for 2019 by getting Diaz for his 600k salary, along with the key aspects of dumping Bruce and Swarzak.

    That was an aspect of the Cano-Diaz deal that was barely noticed–that the deal was clearly a form of conversion, a sale of minor league talent for dollars–and that it suggested the Wilpons’ interest in selling the team. It was distinctly odd, that every deal they made, including the Cano deal, involved backloading even to the point of snatching a million here and there. Every deal pushed payouts past 2019. Every deal suggested they were desperate for money and had a liquidity crisis where their payout obligations for 2019 were a guillotine hanging over them. Now we know.

    I’d bet serious coin that part of this deal involves an immediate infusion of cash, more than is typical, rather than the more typical stock transfers, equity shuffling, and etc.

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