The Mets Big Coup of 2012???

by ThomasWayne

I’ve always been this weird kind of closet Mets fan. Maybe fan isn’t the right word. I was a kid during the greatness-before-the-fall-from-grace years of Doc Gooden and DARE – EL and I marvelled at how frickin’ amazing those two Mets were. But it doesn’t stop there. I met Bobby Ojeda, Ed Hearn, and Tim Teuful outside Busch Stadium in a late August series in 1985 (might have been 1986- forgive me – I am old now and remember things like Ollie North and Roger Clemens) and talked with all of them and they seemed really cool. I cheered for the Cardinals but secretly didn’t mind if my new “friends” were successful.

Then Straw walked by while we were waiting to purchase tickets. Holy friggin’ mother of god – he was easily the biggest and tallest human being I had ever seen (mind you, I was 12 or 13 at the time). Then Keith Hernandez arrived with like 22 blonde bimbos on his arm. Davey Johnson pulled up in an Abrams Tank and was escorted in by the Secret Service. Okay – it was one bimbo on Mex’s arm and the tank the skipper got out of was a yellow cab.

My point is – the ‘Mazin’s were cool; whether you were a fan or not –  they were cool. Even with all the bullshit (and by bullshit I mean heaps and heaps of cocaine and a couple of cases of Coors) they still had swagger and they still won ball games. They were nothing short of a truly great, truly flawed ball club.

Lately – and by lately I mean the better part of this century – they’ve just been flawed but for different reasons. Here’s a few names and numbers to refresh your memory on what I’m talking about. 

  • The team has nearly $700 million in debt
  • The Mets are losing about $10 million/year including depreciation and interest payments on the debt
  • Attendance is down 19% from 2009 and down 35% from 2008
  • SNY is profitable but is leveraged to roughly six times it’s earnings before interest
  • The Wilpon family refinanced about $375 million in loans and kept $75 million for themselves

More recently the team attempted to bring David Einhorn on bored for a much needed cash infusion. Einhorn is the 42-year-old president of Greenlight Capital Inc (read: big damn money machine). The $200 million the Mets were praying for fell through and now they’re back to  pan handling infront of fellow multi-millionaire’s houses in hopes of getting any and all capital on  board to keep from having to pull a Dodgers and abandoned ship.

In a statement to the Associate Press, the Mets’ ownership group, led by Fred Wilpon and family, said it has “provided additional capital to cover all 2011 losses and is moving forward with the necessary resources to continue to operate the franchise.” Mets owners will now attempt to sell shares of  family members and other potential investors at $20 million a pop without risking the possibility of losing a controlling interest in the team.

The funny thing about all of this is the Mets are still a seriously valuable commodity even with more debt than California. New ballpark, big contracts coming off the books (slowly, but coming off) a few decent young players they can hang their hats on and an entire city who would love to get behind them and push them all the way to another Subway Showdown.

So if the  money troubles begin to (through smart management – Wilpon or no Wilpon) to correct themselves there is no reason why the Mets shouldn’t be able to participate in an off season that helps restore the franchise to – at the very least – respectable status.

So I offer this nugget of chance and see what others think. If I was the Mets GM -  a nice chap by the name of Sandy Alderson – I would take this opportunity to speak to the owner and say “What will turn us around financially? Winning usually does the trick. So here is what I propose we do. I want to bring in a blast from my most successful past – Tony LaRussa.”

And with Tony LaRussa comes Dave Duncan.  Duncan’s uncanny ability to take a raw talent (Read: Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, Chris Capenter, etc) and turn them into perennial Cy Young candidates is legendary. Imagine if he got a hold of a couple of young Mets arms who need just the right advice to turn into elite hurlers. You bring in LaRussa and his entire staff (save Jose Oquendo who would most likely be the next Cardinal manager – and a damn fine one at that) and you tell the baseball world we are in this regardless of problems.

And as exciting as that signing would be it could lead to bigger things –  namely  the inside track on Albert Pujols.

Pujols and LaRussa have a father and son type relationship. On many occasions Pujols has stated he couldn’t possibly imagine playing for anyone other than LaRussa. If the Cardinals were to stumble on any level of contract negotiations with either man is it possible Sandy Alderson could lure his old field boss away from the Gateway City and in doing so bring along the game’s greatest hitter?

Now I know what you’re thinking – Thomas, lay off that “special” barbecue sauce you’re basting those ribs with. And I agree (about the craziness of the Mets pulling this off – not about my special sauce) it is one helluva long shot.

But just imagine if the Mets pulled that off.  How many other free agents would follow? Remember the mass exodus of Oakland players who followed LaRussa to St. Louis a decade and a half ago? You could have renamed them the St. Louis A’s there were so many. Adam Wainwright is free agent after 2013. Chris Carpenter will be a free agent this year. What about Edwin Jackson who has pitched superbly under Duncan – he’s a free agent this off season as well. The Mets could be contenders in just a season or two.

And I state again – this is probably not going to happen – and by probably I mean there’s a better chance of Howard Johnson making a baseball comeback – uhhh…wait a minute – bad example.

But seriously,  the Met’s (fixing the money problem or not) probably can’t afford even if Pujols was open to following LaRussa  and  the Cardianls sure as hell can’t afford it bcause there would be riots in the streets. If all this happened the Cardinals would have to go by a new name – The Cubs.

What say you, dear reader? Could this happen? Would LaRussa leave St. Louis and if so would the game’s best bat follow? Or is this just another one of those crazy ideas that looks interesting on paper but would never really come to pass? Speak now and speak loud.

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19 Responses to “The Mets Big Coup of 2012???”

  1. Raul Says:

    Tony LaRussa is the single worst thing to happen to baseball, ever.
    I completely loathe him with every inch of myself.
    I would rather sell everything I own to fund a Charlie Sheen cocaine bender than see Tony LaRussa manage another day.

    Go Mets.

  2. ThomasWayne Says:

    Raul…don’t be shy…tell us how you really feel….LOL

  3. Chuck Says:

    “Or is this just another one of those crazy ideas that looks interesting on paper but would never really come to pass?”

    It doesn’t even look good on paper.

    At his age, I don’t see LaRussa being willing to take on another challenge, especially in New York.

    And where is a team $700 million in debt going to come up with $300 million for Pujols?

  4. Jim Says:

    The ranting of a Cardinal’s fan who realizes that LaRussa’s best days are far in the past and if the team has any hopes of being competitive in the near future a new manager is needed. But, as Thomas accurately points out, (most of) his players love him and for the club to simply let him go, a la Joe Torre, would cause much unhappiness in the club house. Not to mention the fans who distrust the ownership group and believe in LaRussa.

  5. JohnBowen Says:

    I love the call-back to the 1986 Mets.

    That team was incredible.

    They won 108 games and the World Series and were high the entire time.

  6. JohnBowen Says:

    Also, I agree with #1.

    LaRussa comes to New York, he might bring Dave Duncan and some players, but he’s also going to bring a culture of non-stop bitching.

    His nonsense has just gotten out of control.

  7. Raul Says:

    Ryan Braun has a small lead in batting average in the National League. If he wins it this season, he’ll be the first Brewer ever to do so.

    As of this moment in the AL ROY race:

    Jeremy Hellickson:
    155 innings
    126 hits
    106 strikeouts
    11-10 W/L
    3.01 ERA

    Michael Pineda:
    159 innings
    122 hits
    163 strikeouts
    9-9 W/L
    3.74 ERA

    Ivan Nova:
    139 innings
    139 hits
    85 strikeouts
    15-4 W/L
    3.89 ERA

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    I’m sticking with Hellickson, but it just feels like Pineda has a brighter future, looking at the K’s and such.

  9. Raul Says:

    Cannot argue against Hellickson’s consistency. He’s clearly the Rookie of the Year.

    The least of the three, Nova has put together a fine season for the Yankees this season.

  10. John Says:

    Nova could still win it depending on how September unfolds.

  11. Raul Says:

    If Nova gets to 18 wins and the Yankees win the division, he’ll get some votes.

  12. JohnBowen Says:

    I think he’ll get votes regardless.

    One thing of note – Hellickson’s peripherals aren’t great at all.

    Now, when looking back and picking awards, I don’t really care about that stuff.

    But I’d be interested to see if he had a major sophomore slump in 2012.

  13. Chuck Says:

    ROY is Hosmer.

  14. JohnBowen Says:

    Ya, he’s also in the mix but let’s look at it…

    Hosmer is hitting .283/.334/.450. He’s having a very good year…for a rookie.

    Hellickson is 5th in ERA and 9th in WHIP. He’s having a very good year…for anyone.

  15. Chuck Says:

    I think Hellickson has the advantage because he’s been on the radar longer.

    I remember a friend of mine who used to work for the Rays calling me after Hellickson signed in 2005 and saying he was going to be a star.

    Heck, the guy quit the Rays in ‘09.

    I think Hosmer kind of snuck up on people; the Royals pitching prospects get more attention than the position players, and even at that Moustakas was supposed to get to KC first.

    I think Hellickson probably does win it because he entered the year as the favorite, but Hosmer’s going to give him a run.

    Ackley may get some votes too, Pineda’s toast.

  16. JohnBowen Says:

    Pineda is still striking out guys and has a low WHIP and such. His ERA+ is basically average, but it’s hard to complain about what he’s been doing.

  17. Cameron Says:

    I noticed that Pineda gave up fewer hits, but his ERA’s higher than Hellickson’s. That gives me the impression that Pineda’s got better raw stuff, but when you look at the WHIP and ERA, Pineda walks guys more and the hits he gives up are bigger than Hellickson’s.

    However, that ERA could possibly be an anaomaly produced by being backed by the biggest failures to collectively play baseball. Look at what Fuck You, Zack Greinke did for a big part of the season. Shitty defense torching good pitching.

  18. JohnBowen Says:

    Hellickson has a 2.96 ERA and a 4.57 xFIP.
    Pineda has a 3.72 ERA and a 3.47 xFIP.

    Looks like you might be onto something.

  19. Cameron Says:

    Didn’t really look it up. …Okay, to be fair, I’m online for the day, so I really didn’t have time to look it up. Seattle’s not great defensively, but Pineda’s a fireballer and Hellickson’s a command guy. Common baseball logic dictates the guy with the upper 90s fastball as his go-to gets shelled harder than the low/-mid 90s with a good changeup.

    I’ve also learned that your changeup’s also probably your best chance at an out pitch if you have a fastball with good speed difference. Though that’s only through observation. I haven’t done it in practice because my arm is less than useless and the speed difference is negligible. Stick with the sinker for me.

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