The Wilpon Saga

Myles Dichter

Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon just made GM Sandy Alderson’s job a whole lot harder. Through interviews conducted with Tom Verducci of SI, and Jeffery Toobin of the New York Times, Wilpon revealed a whole lot about his team. Was this strategically smart? Absolutely not. He just destroyed the trade value of his two of his most valuable assets come the July deadline, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. While Beltran may still warrant a decent prospect or two, Wilpon may have cost his team dearly with his comments regarding the shortstop, Reyes.

Think about this. The Twins start to turn around their season, and realize that Trevor Plouffe (pronounced Ploof) is not the long term answer at shortstop. So they call up Alderson, and offer two mid-level prospects, SP Liam Hendriks and SS James Beresford for Reyes. Now a week ago, Twins GM Bill Smith would never have dreamt that these two average prospects could bring back an elite shortstop like Reyes, but think about the conversation:

“Hey, you guys need pitching. We’ll send Hendriks and Beresford your way for Jose Reyes. Beresford is a stud, and will replace Reyes in a couple of years”

“No way. Reyes is worth more than that. We need (top pitching prospect) Kyle Gibson if you wanna even think about Jose”

“But even your owner, Fred Wilpon, said that you won’t be able to re-sign him, and that he’s had “everything wrong with him”. How much could this guy possibly be worth?”

“F*cking Wilpon. I’ll consider.”

And just like that, Jose Reyes is a Twin. But even though Wilpon clearly didn’t follow his parents advice in thinking before he spoke, there is something somewhat refreshing about his comments. When was the last time we heard someone actually speak honestly to the media, and not just feed the media exactly what we know we’re going to hear? I suppose this is a type of answer to an article I wrote a couple of months ago. I wondered back then why more people don’t speak their mind. And I still don’t quite understand. But what I am seeing in the Wilpon situation makes me think that it is a matter of pride. Wilpon has been ripped apart in the media-deservedly so-even from the first rumblings that he had put the Mets in a hole by investing 700 million dollars into Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Hell, after that, I don’t know how much pride Wilpon could have had left, considering he regarded Madoff as a GOOD FRIEND. Take the classic case of the bully you learned about in elementary school. This bully feels the need to put others down to make himself feel good. After the Madoff disaster, Wilpon needed to go off on someone, he just chose the wrong people. The Mets owner has now been driven to a new low by the media, who ate this story up. What little is left of his pride will now be taken by Bud Selig, in the form of the New York Mets, a baseball team with a proud, though troubled history.

So we know that Wilpon made a poor choice strategically, and a poor choice for himself. But isn’t it nice to see someone actually tell the truth about their own players? At the end of the day, these guys get paid millions of dollars to play a game for a living. And while I have no problems with this, I do enjoy seeing them being criticized by the people who pay them. He may have hit Carlos Beltran the hardest, when he said, ” We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one [2004 postseason] series. He’s sixty-five to seventy per cent of what he was.” Who was that schmuck? None other than Wilpon himself (Beltran has since replied saying that he is at 100%. Maybe we can compromise at 85$?). What does Beltran do with this? Well, nothing until Alderson approaches him and tells him he has to up his game (Yep. I just used that phrase.) or else he’ll trade him back to Kansas City, since the same situation that occurred with Reyes above will repeat itself with Beltran if he doesn’t start proving that he is legitimately at 100%.

So what can we learn from this situation?

  1. Never invest $700m with one of your “close friends” who just so happens to be running a Ponzi scheme behind your back
  2. Honesty is not the best policy in many cases
  3. One such case is when dealing with players on your MLB team that you are looking to trade
  4. Don’t conduct a revealing interview unless you know it is off the record
  5. Just stay away from the Mets, nothing good ever comes from them
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