Addendum To Mets’ Cutting GCL Club

After reading, watching, and listening to several perspectives on the Mets’ decision to eliminate their Gulf Coast League team, I have a few bullet points to present for conversation:

– Various reports confirm that a GCL club costs less than $1M to operate. If the Mets have to find ways to skim such a relatively miniscule amount of money, how close to bankruptcy are they?

– How is cutting $1M toward the development of two dozen teenagers more beneficial toward long-term planning / success than giving $11M instead of $12M to 32-year-old “closer” Frankie Francisco? (And I challenge Francisco to find another MLB team willing to offer more than $8M over two years in this saturated closer market; Omar Minaya would have been grilled beyond reproach for this deal.)

– Sandy Alderson has expressed — time and time again — that “player development” provides “bang for the buck” and makes “good financial sense”. Someone (Sandy?) please explain how this move is consistent with these statements.

– The patent excuse seems to be that this elimination puts the Mets “in line” with the rest of “the industry”, in that most other MLB clubs have only 6 minor league affiliates, etc. OK, I can understand that explanation — IF the Mets also remain “in line” with all other aspects of running a big-league club. Are they? I’m not sure; maybe they are.

– Another excuse/argument is that the Mets still have two developmental teams in the Dominican Republic. But, the new CBA puts a cap on international signings, so, a.) how is this surplus an advantage; and b.) how long before the Mets eliminate one of these two operations?

– Having extra player development resources was supposed to be the Mets’ unique advantage and efficient answer to cutting big-league payroll, wasn’t it?

– No matter which way you slice it, and regardless of whether this move truly makes “fiscal sense” or is being unnecessarily overblown, you have to admit that the timing is absolutely awful.

Discuss …

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.
  1. Pedro December 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm
    “The patent excuse seems to be that this elimination puts the Mets “in line” with the rest of “the industry”, in that most other MLB clubs have only 6 minor league affiliates, etc. OK, I can understand that explanation” -jj

    I heard this on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove”. One point brought out by one of the hosts was that the better players will be distributed to the DL Summer League and Kingsport, TN. They’ll get more AB, Innings and potentially accelerate their development. Also the new CBA was said to possibly have something to do with this as well.

    If the Wilpons are only cutting costs, then they are operating the same way many companies or corporations have recently. They make cuts. They make other assets available (i.e. the Dominican facility being up for lease). Eventually they stabilize or they go bankrupt.

  2. Glenn December 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    This is a non-story; if another team had done it like the Braves, it would be treated as such.

    Most minor leaguers are filler, after all you have to have someone to play. In old times there used to be ten or 11 minor league teams, class A, Class B, Class C and D etc.

    Furthermore teams have moved their minor league teams when possible closer to their MLB teams because they want their players closers to them to supervise them better. The GCL Mets are the furthest away.

    What will make the Mets good again is getting top prospects, not just filling out a minor league team just ot fill it you because you have to. Better to have more time for the better prospects to utilize.

    • HobieLandrith December 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm
      It wouldn’t be a “non-story” if the Braves cut a team while simultaneously begging for investments, extracting loans from banks, filing for extensions on the repayment of loans from MLB, and signing only the least-expensive free agents available.

      Where are the Mets going to get these “top prospects”? Aside from truly elite athletes – i.e., the Strasburgs, Bryce Harpers, Aroldis Chapmans, etc. – it could be argued that prospects are “made” or developed in minor league systems.

      And anyway it was Alderson Himself who proclaimed that player development “makes good financial sense” (did you even read the article or just the headline?).

      Will it also be a “non-story” when the Mets lay off another 10% of their scouting department?

    • Mike B December 23, 2011 at 12:09 am
      Glenn do you really believe that the Trenton and Staten Island Yankees play there because Hank and Hall and Cash like to keep an eye on the talent? Or maybe is it to cash in on the Yankee fan base and make even more money so they can PAY high priced talent instead of flashing some prospect that won’t even make the major league roster for 3 years.

      You’re right it would be a non-story if a club that runs its organization as well as the Braves do. But unfortunately for the mets and their fans every move will be put under a microscope.

  3. mic December 23, 2011 at 5:30 am
    Its very much a story, in context. This, the upcoming debt payments, payroll slashing all mean one thing…..The Mets must cost control in light of REALLY poor decisions by the Wilpons.

    As many have blogged and written, Alderson is working for Selig and the Mets WILL be sold once the MADof court decision has been handed down….probably next summer.

    In the meantime contracts will expire, and farmhands will develop. The Mets parallel to me is the Nats who ten years ago were owned by the MLB, but now are doing quite well.

  4. Tony December 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm
    There are very good points in this post. The money is modest in the big picture of things. Although think about the new CBA. Fewer prep players are going to go pro after H.S. now because of bonus limits.

    Then again, if I was prepping a business for sale, I trim all and any excess, it’s step 1. That’s probably wishful thinking though.

  5. Howard Altman December 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm
    As a long-time Mets fan and more recent resident of Florida, I’m bummed not to be able to see the future. It was great seeing Matt Harvey and crew last year and I was hoping to find Nimmo worth watching.
    Just another reason that it’s time for the Wilpons to say goodbye.