Mets ownership takes a lot of heat from this blog, but for once, I have to give Fred Wilpon credit where due. It’s about time someone found a scapegoat for the 2013 Mets who wasn’t named Jordany Valdespin. Newsday’s Steve Marcus allows Fred considerable room to vent :
“We’re coming to the end of the time when we have had an overhang of players who got hurt or didn’t play well, and I think that Sandy Alderson and his staff have a plan,” Wilpon said Monday during an interview with Newsday about the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field. “I know some people are impatient about it. But they do have a plan and they’re executing on their plan and I think things are in the right direction. It’s hard to say that when the team loses four, five in a row.”
“I get it, I suffer with it. I think that we have to see that plan become successful because in today’s world, it’s not how much money you spend — although we have invested a lot of money. Some of it has been wasted because right now we have a [$102.2 million] payroll and 50 percent of the payroll is not playing.”
Wilpon, 76, was largely referring to the injuries of former ace Johan Santana, who is owed $31 million, closer Frank Francisco ($6.5 million) and reliever Scott Atchison ($700,000). Atchison is close to returning. The Mets paid a lump sum and deferred some of the $21 million due outfielder Jason Bay when he agreed to have his contract terminated last November.
“That’s a shame,” Wilpon said. “It might be very different if they were [available]. But that’s part of life, you have to go on and see how you can address that, and I think as an organization, we’re addressing those needs.
Wilpon said he wants the turnaround to happen with the right type of players.
“I found that character, good character, does help,” he said. “People say, ‘What do you care about a ballplayer’s character?’ Let me tell you something, it’s indicative sometimes of their honesty to perform at their best level. That kind of character that David Wright has and Derek Jeter, I think it’s meaningful.”
So there you have it, folks. The Mets’ current status has nothing to do with, say, starting the likes of Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Omar Quintanilla or Jeremy Hefner. It’s because the club is denied the services of Frank Francisco. And if Santana were healthy, who knows how many no decisions he’d have racked up by now?