For people who claim that they had no idea a scam was being perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, the Wilpons are pretty bold about trying to pull one on Mets fans.
Jeff Wilpon put the scheme in motion on Monday when he made a very loud pronouncement that the Mets are able to be buyers in the days leading up to the trading deadline. This flies directly into the face of all the austerity measures talked about in Mets land, but Wilpon claims that Sandy Alderson is free to spend like a drunken sailor (or Omar Minaya) in the next couple of months.
"He'll have all the opportunity in the world to bring anybody he wants in. The way for him to do that is to bring the ideas to us and we'll talk about it. But he does not have restrictions. We'll deal with everything on a case-by-case basis."
Amazing how this proclamation comes just as the drumbeat to re-sign Jose Reyes starts to sound like the villagers surrounding Dr. Frankenstein's house, isn't it? Forget about the fact that we claim to be losing money hand over fist and that a drastic budget cut is coming in the offseason, we're in it to win it, baby!
Don't believe a word of it. If the fact that Jeff's dad has been publicly bemoaning their financial hardship isn't enough to dissuade you from believing much of what's said from either side of the collective mouth, just remember what Alderson was brought here to do as general manager.
If the Mets wanted a guy who would sacrifice the long term prospects of the organization in deals for veteran players with bigger salaries, they wouldn't have fired Minaya. From the day Alderson was hired, the plan was to restock the franchise from the bottom up, so why would you change that because your team has played below .500 baseball for the first half of the season?
The Mets need depth in their farm system, something that can't happen if they make trades, and they need to start making honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses. Blindly chasing false hope has led to so many mistakes in the past that it would simply reinforce every negative notion about this team if they were to go sprinting down that path again.
The only reasonable explanation for Wilpon's decision to come out with this statement at this point in the year is to try and throw water on the anger that the Reyes situation has created among Mets fans. If the Mets are willing to go for it, then they wouldn't possibly trade Reyes so it's okay to buy some tickets and help the Mets finance these big acquisitions.
A more honest statement would be that Alderson and the Mets will consider all possibilities while focusing on the ones that best fit the team's stated plans for success over the long term. If that includes a deal that helps the team win right now, that's great but not if it comes at the expense of a depleted farm system or other moves that help the team more.
Moves like re-signing Reyes, for example. That's how you show that finances aren't driving the entire ship because, unlike Wilpon's scam statement of Monday, that's something that actually matters to the Mets.