Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is Wrong with The Mets?

The older I have gotten, more more I have realized how important perception is to the world at large. Perception, some people say, is everything.

So, yesterday Bengie Molina rejected the Mets contracts offer of 5.5 Million for one year plus a vesting option for a 2nd year in 2011 (if he reached certain requirements in 2010). Molina instead accepted a one year deal (with no vesting option) from San Francisco for 4.5 million.

So of course the first thing being asked around is why. Why would Molina take less money from the Giants? He wanted a three year deal. The Mets offered more money and a chance to get a 2nd year and yet Molina rejected it.

There’s a lot of theories floating about. Molina wanted to stay with the Giants and they hadn’t offered anything until yesterday, he wanted to stay on the west coast, NY made him nervous… etc, etc.

I think at least a part of it was perception. Perception that the entire organization is a mess.

You see, the Mets have a much bigger obstacle than their on the field issues of the past three years. They need to disperse the notion that they are an organization that has no clue what they are doing.

Tom Verducci (of Sports did a very interesting report where he listed how efficent each MLB team was over the last decade. He used a lot of fancy math but basically it came down to what teams did the best with the money they spent? The most efficent team? That was the Marlins who spent the least yet manged to win a world series and be in a few pennant races. The worst? You guess it. The Mets,who despite playing in a world series in the decade and making the post season more than once and being in a decent number of pennent races still spent $737.5 million MORE than the Marlins and yet overall won only four more games. (And Yankee fans, before you start yucking it up… the Bronx Bombers, despite winning two world series and being in two others in the decade, finished only six spots better than the Mets and spent 31% more than the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets to the tune of $1.6 Billion dollars. In other words, money isn’t everything).

So what does this even mean? Well, toss this info aside for a second and take a look at the different headlines the Mets have made over the past year. The Tony Bernazard situation, Omar Minaya attacking New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin, the Carlos Beltran surgery miscommunication… looking at all of this it’s not hard to wonder just what in hell is going on over there.

Right now the Mets make the Keystone Cops look like a well oiled machine. That perception is not good. It’s not good for business. It’s not good for the fans. And it is certainly not good when trying to lure over prespective free agents who may (or may not) be in postion to improve your ballclub.

Would Bengie Molina made the Mets a better ballclub? Well, that is a matter of opinion. The arguement can be made either way. In the end, I’m not terribly disappointed he’s not here. Molina was one of the slowest runners in baseball, he struck out a ton and he’s a 35 year old catcher. Would he have hit decently? Yeah I think so, but not enough to give him a guaranteed deal for more than one year. The problem isn’t so much he’s not here. The problem is that the reasoning behind WHY he’s not here is disturbing.

At this point, I think you would be hard pressed to find many people who have a lot of respect for the Mets front office right now. It starts with their GM. Omar just doesn’t sound like he has the slightest clue what is going on. His soundbites are full of stammers and repeating words and hesitations and doublespeak. He comes across as edgy and nervous. People don’t even seem to think he’s really in charge anymore… that Jeff Wilpon is. Again, the perception of this is damning.

At this point, the best thing the Mets could do is clean house. Clean up the management staff (and the seemingly inept medical staff also) and get in some fresh blood who will at least give the preception they know what they are doing.

Of course in the end, if they win, the perception will change anyway.

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