A day prior to Mets shareholder Saul Katz denying rumors he’s keen to sell, ESPN NY’s Adam Rubin rejected a call for manager Terry Collins’ firing on Twitter, suggesting fingers be pointed instead at GM Sandy Alderson. Capital NY’s Howard Megdal, while hardly casting a vote for Sandy as MLB Executive Of The Year, points out Alderson is trying to field a big league team with a payroll of roughly $80 million.
Unlike most other G.M.s, Alderson isn’t given a static, simple budget to work with. Ownership instead makes vauge promises to him about spending, while ultimately forcing him to build the team on player-by-player basis, never sure of when he’ll have to stop.
He was told, just as the public was led to believe, that this past winter would offer the chance to expand payroll for the first time in his tenure. Alderson made public his belief last June that the Mets needed a payroll of $90-100 million merely to be competitive.
Most teams right now, particularly those with their own television networks or recently-negotiated television deals, have that as primary revenue stream, with attendance secondary. In cases like the Phillies, the team could operate with virtually zero fans attending and still support the $172 million payroll, thanks to television revenue in the deal they just signed.
The Mets have such a setup with S.N.Y., and have since the network debuted back in 2006. Where’s that revenue going?
Answer: to finance debt, to keep ownership afloat. You know, the thing that led Bud Selig to take Frank McCourt from the Dodgers.