Jeff Wilpon Makes Rare Appearance to Defend Mets’ Spending

Jeff Wilpon Makes Rare Appearance to Defend Mets’ Spending


In an oddly slow winter across baseball, with big-name free agents such as Eric Hosmer, Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez still available, the Mets have been among the biggest spenders to date. They dished out nearly $54 million to sign outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Anthony Swarzak and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

But that still pales in comparison to the last off-season, when the Mets spent nearly $120 million on free agents (mostly to re-sign outfielder Yoenis Cespedes) and ended up spending the second-most of any team on free agents, according to Spotrac.com. But their overall payroll still remained outside the top 10.

Through much of the 2000s, before the team had to rebuild its roster and deal with its entanglement in the Bernard L. Madoff financial scandal, the Mets regularly ranked in the top five in payroll. In 2013, when the payroll dropped to $93 million, Fred Wilpon, a Mets’ owner and their chief executive officer, said the team would spend money when it became competitive again.

That began midway through the 2015 season, when the Mets traded for several players, including Cespedes, and eventually reached the World Series behind a talented group of young and inexpensive starting pitchers that included Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz. But injuries and underperformance led to a disappointing 2017 season with a 70-92 record during which the Mets traded away several veteran players, and the team does not appear to have any desire to dig deeply into its wallet soon.

“I’d rather look at what we can do in terms of wins and losses,” Jeff Wilpon said. “Being top five in payroll, I don’t think that won us a World Series. We’re set out to make the playoffs and do well deep into the playoffs and try to win the World Series, not try to be the top five in payroll.”

Wilpon admitted that the team’s attendance and revenue were indeed factors in the following year’s payroll. Their attendance saw the third-biggest drop in baseball from 2016, when they reached the National League wild card game, to last season, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

“You don’t want the revenues so far to lag behind what the payroll would be,” Wilpon said. “It all goes into the mix in determining what we should do. But I get where the fan perception is. It’s not lost on any of us. We have a plan, and because we believe in Sandy and the baseball department we’re going to stick with that plan.”



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