Financial Problems and Bad Contracts Cause of New York Mets' Downfall

By Jerry Elsing
Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have been a disaster on the field for the last few years now, but you can’t blame it all on the players.  This team just doesn’t have the talent to compete in a tough NL East with teams such as the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves.  With that said, the biggest problem this team faces is trying to fix the financial issues the Wilpons are having right now.

First we’ll start with the Bernie Madoff issue.  This, by far, has been the reason why the Mets don’t have the talent needed to compete at a high level in MLB.  The Madoff ponzi scheme could have cost the Mets $1 billion as the team was seen as being “willfully blind” by the judge.  But luckily for the Wilpons, the victims of the scheme settled with him for $162 million and they were able to keep majority ownership of the team.  Even though they kept control of the team, that doesn’t mean they have the money right now to spend on free agents and re-sign the Mets’ own talent as we saw was the case with Jose Reyes.

The next problem that the Mets have are the bad contracts they have given to aging stars. This trend started in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the signings of players such as Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn, and Jeremy Burnitz, but in this article let’s start with Johan Santana.  When the Mets traded for Santana, he was supposed to be the man to get them over the hump and into the World Series.  The trade was a no-brainer, and after a very good first season they rewarded him with a six-year, $137.5 million contract.  The Mets now are seeing what happens when you give a big contract to a pitcher that logged big innings in his career.  Santana has broken down and will probably never pitch again with the team since they hold an option in 2014 that they probably won’t pick up.

The next dumb signing was that of Jason Bay.  Bay had a career year in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox belting 36 HR with 119 RBI.  The Mets than gave him a monster contract of four-years, $66 million after losing out in the Matt Holliday sweepstakes.  The team should’ve looked at how skewed those numbers were since he played at Fenway Park.  Bay awarded the Mets in his time with the team with 26 HR and 124 RBI in three years with the team.  So much for him being a big presence in the Mets’ lineup.  He has gone down as one of the worst signings in baseball history.

But this offseason will be different.  With the Mets settling with the Madoff victims and both Santana’s and Bay’s contracts coming off the books, the team has some room to make moves.  This year’s free agent class is very good, and the Mets have some money to spend on them.  I expect the team to make a big splash this year in the offseason and start creating a winning team for years to come.

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