5 Questions With... Howard Megdal

                              Howard Megdal is Writer At Large for Capital New York. He covers baseball, basketball, and soccer for The Journal News, MLBTradeRumors.com, and numerous other publications. His new book, Wilpon's Folly," is available here. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardMegdal.

Hey Howard. Thanks for joining us. Let's get going...

1. Judging that there is a new television deal in place and the fact that the New York real estate market has rebounded, can we assume that the Mets can’t deal up the ‘we are broke’ card again in future drafts and off-seasons?

    If only. The Mets have a 320 million debt against the team due in 2014. Their 450 million debt against their SNY stake, due in 2015, jumped significantly this offseason, thanks to a further 160 million they borrowed against it. How they manage either, let alone both, is hard to envision. The trustee in the Bernie Madoff case, for example, didn't think they could, and gave the Wilpon group a hardship settlement.

They are grateful for the approximately 50 million more they'll get in 2014 and beyond in national TV revenue, but they are cannibalizing the jump in local TV revenue to stave off financial reckoning, while other teams are spending (Hello, Cleveland!), and that means prices are also going up for free agents. 

2. No one has been more perplexed at the under-slotting and lack of drafting power names early on in the drafts. Do you see any chance in this come June by Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta?

Hard to say, though it would certainly take chutzpah to avoid Michael Bourn to preserve a full draft allocation pool, then not spend it.

3. I was lucky to spend a couple of years in the clubhouse during spring training. The team has lost a handful of real nice guys this past off-season. In your opinion, how important is team chemistry off the field and what happens when some wild card (like Kelly Shoppach orJordany Valdespin) shows up?

Consider me a team chemistry skeptic, with many examples throughout baseball history.

4. The 2015 rotation looks like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Noah Syndergaard, and ??? Care to make a guess who the SP5 will be?

Projecting pitchers a month ahead is a fool's errand. Wouldn't dream of doing two years. So I guess: Reid Cornelius.

5. Queens wise, in your opinion, when do we see our next Mets playoff game?

Tell me when ownership is in solvent hands again, and I'll tell you roughly when that happens.


Charles said...

I know Medgal has been on the "their broke" side for a long time and I'm sure he's correct about their various loans coming due, but we all must remember something...

Unlike in the past three years since the Wilpons money issues started, this season, Fred went right out to the media and proclaimed the Meta would be back in business. At least next off season anyway when it concerns opening the once empty vault.

Listen, the Mets are locked in a TV deal with SNY that pays them significantly less then today's market value. Especially for a team operating in the biggest market and has fans all over the USA. The good news is the network that has them tied to that deal is also owned by the Wilpons.

Like Fred said, they've been getting numerous revenues, but that money had to be diverted elsewhere. I just don't believe with the current state of the Mets' fan base, Fred would make such bold statements without knowing if he didn't follow through, he'd most likely lose those fans for good.

The Mets get 65 million from Sny. The dodgers get 250 million. The Angels get 150. Pick a number around those California teams and subtract the 65 million. That's what Sny is easily making and then much more. The Wilpons, when you add all the other revenues, are doing just fine. The Mets and SNY together are worth much more then they owe.

Once the team loses the excess contracts next season, they'll have a really solid, cheap, young and potentially dominant rotation. Add all the other young arms that'll be ready and their great infield and now all they'll need is to spend 60 million dollars wisely to have this team turned around.

Fred also made mention of fans needing to come to the ballpark while also stating the team must be better in order for that to happen. Well, sign a Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Elsbury, add them to your already young core and watch the fans pack into Citifield.

Next year they'll get the extra money from mlb's new tv deal. That amounts to an extra 25 million on top of the 50 million coming off the books. They could easily spend 60 million worth of new yearly contracts for free agents and still operate at their current levels.

That means all the talk about the owners being able to afford this almost moot. They'll easily be able to spend lavishly next off season without much worry except keeping the contracts from becoming to long in terms of years.

I see a much brighter future for the Mets thanks in large part to Sandy's wheeling and dealing while also having enough self control to not step off the path of waiting out the bad contracts. Think about the starting pitchers, the rotation, all the young arms that'll be ready for the bullpen by next year and really, what your left needing is just a couple of really good legit outfielders.

Mack's Mets © 2012