Wilpons Apparently Limit Budget to $25-30 Million

According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, Mets ownership is changing their tune about the team’s budget.

Following the season, Jeff Wilpon stated that finances were no longer a problem for the team.

“It’s all in the rear view mirror,” Wilpon said about past financial woes.

If that were actually the case, then the high cost of free agents wouldn’t matter, right? What am I missing? In this article from October 29th, Wilpon was paraphrased as saying:

…the Mets will have the financial wherewithal to address those needs. After years of working with a bloated payroll thanks to big contract to Johan Santana and Jason Bay, and the financial burden of pending legal matters from the Bernie Madoff scandal, Mets Sandy Alderson will be unencumbered when the Mets hit the market, Wilpon said.

Fred Wilpon has made similar assertions, even as far back as February. And in every case, they seem to present GM Sandy Alderson as the only roadblock to spending. From Fred:

Asked if the team payroll, which is now about $90 million, will soon enough return to the $140 million level it stood at several years ago, Wilpon said: “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

From Jeff:

“Depending on how it all presents itself, that has always been part of the plan, to use the money coming off the books and improve the team,” Wilpon said.  I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to happen, as we get further into the offseason, we’ll know a little better.

It’s the Wilpons’ money, and now, according to Harper, they are dictating to Alderson how much to spend. That was the case all along. They told previous GMs Omar Minaya and Steve Phillips how much to spend (and when to spend it) as well. The GMs proceeded according to their marching orders.

Having a lavish budget doesn’t guarantee a contender, but it certainly gives a team more flexibility to acquire the pieces it needs. If what Harper says is true, Alderson once again has to get creative on a relatively limited budget dictated by an ownership group that is still financially limited, no matter what they’ve said publicly.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. p00p November 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm
    another day, another lie from the WORST OWNERS IN SPORTS!
    • alan November 25, 2013 at 8:52 am
      WELL SAID!!!
    • alan November 25, 2013 at 8:55 am
      Time for the Coup…err.. Wilpons to sell the team. they can’t afford to participate … and hopefullythe fans will do what they did so well in 2013.. stay home, and sit on their $$$$..
  2. friend November 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm
    One is compelled to revisit the question of how David Wright was convinced to enthusiastically buy into the future of this organization!
    • argonbunnies November 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm
      Wright’s been the ultimate good soldier thus far, but at the end of 2013 he sounded insistent on reinforcements. If they don’t arrive, I wonder if his quotes about confidence in the organization will change.

      As the official face of the franchise, I wonder if he can say to the Wilpons, “Do what you promised or I’ll tell the media how I really feel,” and make them step up.

  3. DanB November 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    jeff wilpon expects the Mets to be players again next offseason as soon as they get from out underneath Chris Young’s financially restrictive contract. By the way, friend, I am on record as expecting Wright trade rumors soon.
  4. DaveSchneck November 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    Nothing that is said by Jeff Wilpon deserves any recognition as being credible. This is based on years and years of disingenuious statements.
  5. argonbunnies November 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm
    Interesting. I wonder why this leaked out now? Did the Mets plan to spend more last month, and now they’re doing their 2013 accounting and realizing how much money they lost?

    At least “we only have $30 mil to spend” is consistent with the “wait until Bay and Santana come off the books” talk. The Mets aren’t going to spend more than $90ish mil on payroll and that’s that.

    The thing that’s “in the rearview mirror” is the Wilpons’ fear of being sued for $1 billion and losing the team, which paralyzed any spending. They’re no longer paralyzed, they’re just broke/stingy.

  6. DanB November 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm
    Let’s not forget the reason the Madoff lawsuit settled for so little is that the accountants told the lawyers there was no money to get.
    The startling thing is the Mets acting shocked by the market. Every yahoo like me has been predicting the network money would raise spending. Phillies took the offensive. Mets acted shocked and are behind the market. Could Jeff Wilpon be a bigger idiot right now? Such an embarrisment.
  7. micalpalin November 23, 2013 at 4:33 am
    Trade David Wright?
    • NormE November 23, 2013 at 8:09 am
      It would be a humanitarian act for all the suffering David has gone through. Put him out of his misery.
      • DaveSchneck November 25, 2013 at 9:34 am
        It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy that will earn over $200 million by the age of 40 for playing akids game, but I do get your point.
  8. Jujo November 23, 2013 at 9:43 am
    The Wilpons are like Obama and Alderson is like Jay Carney-nothing but liars!
  9. Steve S. November 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    I’d rather go to a AA game than to Citi. Attendance keeps going DOWN there, with the Wilponzis not knowing that you need to spend some money to make some….
  10. DanB November 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm
    I have been a bigger pessimist about Met finances then most and now I think it is even worse then I imagined. The Wilpons don’t even pretend any more that they will ever spend money on this team. Does anyone believe they will keep Harvey once his salary hits $15+ million in arbitration? How are they ever going to pay to keep any top pitching prospects once they get to arbitration? Houston Astro game plan, here we come!
    • TexasGusCC November 25, 2013 at 3:25 am

      the Astros fans are beside themselves with what is going on. The new owner is basically holding the team hostage until a new cable deal is in place. That should be after this year and he has promised to spend.

      He’s screwing the fans to not give the cable company a good product to market. Stupid, I know.

      The Coupons are in a different position. They have always been penny wise and dollar foolish as to their investing in the Mets’ future, but now, the question is when that loan comes up in June, will the banks see the Mets as a good investment? Guess how I feel…

      • DanB November 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm
        Yeah, I have heard those stories about the Astros. Hard to imagine it is a good long term plan. And I agree with you about the Mets. Even when the Wilpons were spending money, they seem to always stop a few million short. For example, I have heard that it was always Jeff Wilpon stopping Omar from adding salary at the trading deadline. Imagine if the Mets added salary in 2006 and made it to the World Series?

        As far as the Mets refinancing their loans, I am sure banks will give them money. In the mean time, I think the Mets will keep their expenses low to help pay down debt. But after the Mets refinance, how much will their yearly nut be? What terms will they get for the refinance? Does anyone think a banker will think highly of a team run by Jeff Wilpon? This is going to effect payroll for 30 years!

  11. crozier November 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm
    I find strange that Harper’s tweet is assumed to be accurate. I don’t buy it.
    • argonbunnies November 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm
      I buy it because of all the Alderson quotes about “we won’t be in on $100 mil players” and “we’ll see if the market for other players is more reasonable” etc. Teams that have money to acquire good players don’t need the “prudent”/”cost effective”/”good deal” spin. (They need to be prudent, but they don’t need that as a talking point.)

      Shin-Soo Choo is a player who fills multiple needs — leadoff, OF, brings OBP. Someone’s going to sign him. Why not the Mets? Money, that’s why. As soon as Sandy said Choo’s price was too high, I knew the prior talk about spending was all lies.

      Choo probably will be overpaid, but if the Mets have any interest in contending in the next 3 years, we’ll have to overpay a few free agents. Choo is at least worth staying in on until the end.

      Unless the team is broke.