The New York Mets: Ruins of a Franchise
Let me say right off the bat that I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan, and I have no vested interest in a healthy, competitive Mets franchise. That said, looking back to the epic pennant races of just a few years ago, who could have predicted that the Mets would fall so far, and so fast?
Flash back to the 2006 season: The Mets went as far as the NLCS, losing a tough battle with the Cardinals. They seemingly had a handful of youthful, elite players to form a core for years to come: Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Johan Santana.
Then, in 2007, they collapse down the stretch and just haven’t been the same since, despite spending major money in the past few years to patch holes with guys like Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez.
And now, this offseason has seen a change in management with a new GM and new manager, who will be tasked with getting the franchise back to fiscal sanity. But now, news is coming out that the owners (Wilpon and Katz) are getting sued for their close ties to Bernie Madoff! And that they’re open to selling part of the team to bring in new cash!
Some commentators have openly wondered as to who would be interested in buying a piece of the Mets, given their existing debt load related to player contracts and their brand new stadium.
The path to getting better isn’t clear. Add to the list of woes the fact that many experts are saying that the Mets have one of the worst farm systems in the majors, so there may not be many young, cheap players available. The ability of the franchise to spend in the future may be compromised by their existing debt load.
Still, the Mets play in too big of a market to be bad for very long. Once they get out of some of these bad contracts next season they should start to rebuild their franchise. Still, as a Phillies fan, I can’t help but enjoy the struggles of a major rival. The Phillies have their own problems, we don’t need to deal with a strong Mets team as well!