In one of the most, if not the most, ridiculous moves so far this winter, the Mets yesterday decided they would eliminate their minor league team in the Class-A Gulf Coast league. The GCL Mets, as the team is often reffered to as, is at the lowest level of the minor league. Last year, prospects such as Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer played with the team. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the cutting means “Clear downsizing is going on.” The New York Times reports that the move will save the Mets from $750,000 to $800,000 per year.
What does this mean? It means the Wilpons are broke. Well, we already knew that, but I don’t think anybody thought it was this serious. Besides, if you’re going to make organizational cuts, this is the worst place to do it. As Branch Ricky once explained, the minors is a cheap way to develop players:
The farm system, which I have been given credit for developing, originated from a purely selfish motive: saving money.
When you have to cut the future of your organization just to stay afloat, it is over. If the Wilpons can’t fund a large-market payroll, let alone keep one of the cheapest developmental tools of their organization, there is no way they should be allowed to hold onto this team. They have hundreds of millions, possibly even close to one billion dollars in debt, a hole that will be virtually impossible to get out of, especially with a team as bad as this one.
Nobody really knows for sure what the Met balance sheet looks like, and I doubt anyone will ever find out, but we can safely assume there is a whole lot of red ink. I’m in no real position to tell the Mets what to do, but at this point, what are the Wilpons trying to accomplish? There is no way they are possibly going to make money with this team over the net few years, so what’s the point? Today, they made a move that could hurt them in the long run. Obviously it won’t be the end of the world, but having 24 less minor league roster spots reduces flexibility and forces high school draftees and international signings to play at higher levels in the minors. The move troubles me more in a symbolic way than in a logistical or baseball way. Seeing the Wilpons this desperate to save money just makes me so upset.
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