Mets’ Final Bernie Madoff Payout: $162 Million; Mediocrity Assured

Posted by Frank Klose

Courtesy @hip_hip_jorge

Well, the news is somewhat good for the Mets.  Figured to be liable to replay some of the profits from Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, some reports had the Mets owing as much as $1 billion, or perhaps as little as $80 million.   The end result: $162 million over five years.

The Mets had previously been selling off $20 million "shares" of the team that amount to little more than a fan club membership.  If all 12 shares are sold, that amounts to $240 million.  So, that would give the Mets the ability to pay it back.

If that can wipe out the debt, that is smooth sailing for the Mets, right?   Here's why the Mets are doomed to mediocrity in 2012 and probably over the next several years:

  • Attendance has dropped from 4 million fans at the opening of Citi Field to about half of that, with fans having even less interest this coming season than the last few.  2 million times an average of $40 a ticket = money problems.
  • Bobby Bonilla is owed $1.2 million a year for the next 25 years.  They thought that the 10% Madoff interest on their money would trump the 8% they planned to pay Bonilla.  Whoops.
  • Jose Reyes is gone, and they did not even attempt to re-sign Reyes, clearly their best player and fan favorite.  I suspect fewer fans will come to games to watch Ruben Tejada play short.
  • David Wright is hurt
  • On the payroll in 2012 and 2013 is the underperforming Jason Bay. An option may add a year.
  • Their farm system only ranks around the middle in MLB. With no talent on the major league roster and none on the farm, where will it come from?  
  • The 2012 Mets roster will feature a former top pitching prospect.  With a career .176 batting average, he will play outfield for the Mets.  He made a costly defensive error in this piece.
  • Johan Santana still ties up a great deal of the Mets' payroll, and hasn't pitched in ages.  His last Spring start was "wobbly".
  • Large debt payments for Citi Field loom.

Finally, if the Mets pay the debt of $162 million is paid evenly over the next five years, an annual payment of $34 million would be required.  Here's a snapshot of what $34 million will buy in 2012:

  • Roy Halladay, Kevin Youkoulis, and Luke Gregorson
  • Cole Hamels, Robinson Cano, and Martin Prado
  • Cliff Lee, Evan Longoria, and Joey Votto
  • Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Heath Bell

I could go on forever… $34 million is a ton of talent each season the Mets will miss.  Ouch.

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