Mets Cutting Rookie League Team

According to Adam Rubin, the Mets are eliminating a minor league team:

The Mets will eliminate their Gulf Coast League team based in Port St. Lucie for 2012, not Kingsport. The cost-saving move still leaves the Mets will eight affiliates, including two in the Dominican Republic, which is more than most organizations, the Mets noted.

The Mets’ statement makes no mention of Kingsport’s future for 2013 and beyond. It reads: “For 2012, we will be conducting our three Rookie League teams in Kingsport, Tenn., and out of our facility in the Dominican Republic and will not operate a team in the Gulf Coast League.”

Does this mean the Mets have been lying to us?

First things first: though the GCL team was based in Port St. Lucie, it is not the Port St. Lucie team that plays in the Class A – Advanced Florida State League. Rather, it is a Rookie League team in the Gulf Coast League.

OK, that aside, let’s take a look at this move. On the one hand, it could be argued that the club was an extra, perhaps unnecessary expense — a luxury, if you will. After all, the Mets will still have — after slashing the GCL club — 6 minor league teams and 2 “developmental” clubs in the Dominican Republic. Among those six include two short-season teams (Brooklyn and Kingsport).

On the other hand, this news coincides with the report that the organization has let go a scout handling the Pacific Rim and an unidentified part-time worker at the Port St. Lucie facility. (Happy holidays!)

Further, these cost-cutting measures follow a report last month that the organization laid off nearly ten percent of its workforce.

In other words, it’s crystal-clear that the Mets are cutting costs due to financial problems, and though cutting the GCL team may have made perfect sense even if the franchise was rolling in dough, it just doesn’t look good. In fact, it looks absolutely horrible.

Actions speak louder than words, and this latest news creates the perception that the reason the Mets did not re-sign Jose Reyes and have not gone after any big-name free agents this winter has nothing to do with “future planning” but specifically due to a financial crisis. Sandy Alderson can tell us 15 different ways that the team’s recent moves are all about building the team for “long term success”, but those statements ring hollow when you see pieces of player development eliminated. You can’t say “we’re building for the future” and at the same time cut a minor league club and scouts — you simply can’t have it both ways.

What’s your thought? Does this news concern you in any way? Do you believe the Mets can trim player development resources while building for the long-term? Is it acceptable to you?

11-12 Offseason

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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