Mets owners get $700 M in loans to refinance debt, and what it could mean on field

The Mets owners obtained at least $700 million in loans to refinance debt, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick reports today.

According to Soshnick, the financing will be used to replace existing credit lines and provide additional funds to the team’s owners.

Yesterday, the New York Post reported team owners recently refinanced $450 million in loans borrowed against SportsNet New York (SNY).

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

If you’re a Mets fan who thinks someone other than the Wilpons must own this team before it can win again, if you think on-field success is a direct result of the name on the door, you probably feel these two reports are bad news. However, if you’re like me, and you don’t think it matters who is physically signing the checks so long as the GM has the necessary tools and resources to field a winning team, this is probably good news. Because, these reports suggest more resources could become available, and that’s been the real issue these last few years: resources.

It’s fairly obvious that ownership’s off-field legal issues; the team’s poor performance and declining revenue; and collective debts; all collided to choke resources and essentially punch the on-field team in the face.

PolaroidIf the Mets had the ability to double payroll these last few years, they might have hired an aggressive, spend-happy GM, who could have cut all his dead weight, eaten contracts, and re-signed new players to slot in and maybe produce better results than we’ve seen. However, there is no guarantee that approach would work. Or, maybe it could have worked for a year, entertained us and raised our hopes, but imploded. And it’s possible it could have never worked and dug a deeper hole than doing nothing at all. Instead, it looks like Mets ownership hired a thrifty, unwavering GM in Sandy Alderson (with a track record of bargain hunting) who could navigate the organization through a cash crunch, while simultaneously restructuring and restocking the farm system… all of which he’s done.

In the last three years, Sandy Alderson has put the Mets organization in a position to essentially start new in 2014, at which point they’ll have just two long-term contracts on the books and a crop of young talent ready to roll in the farm system. I think when he talks about 2014, he’s not necessarily talking about contending, so much as he’s talking about finally starting from zero, with a somewhat clean slate and a lot of options.

Frankly, this is probably what ownership should have done 10 years ago, which is to basically do a reset on the organization. Yes, I’m tired of seeing this team lose more games each of the last three years. But, I was growing equally tired of the Boom and Bust cycles of the last 25 years, none of which produced a ring, and none of which produced a consistent stretch of success. Sure, the Mets made the playoffs here and there, but then it would all come crashing down a year or two later, after which they’d rebuild, take flight and then quickly crash again… over and over again.

Is this current reset occurring because ownership wised up? It is happening because someone finally realized the old way wasn’t working? Or, is it occurring because they had no choice? Because it was forced on them, because it had to happen with all the off-field, financial issues? I don’t know, and I don’t really care, because it needed to happen either way. This organization has long been in need of this type of cleansing. I’m glad it’s happening, for whatever reason it’s happening, because I’m tired of always rooting for miracles only to have my hopes dashed every September. It just sucks it has to be happening now and not 10 years ago.

Yes, these last few years have been brutal and boring. Now, though, if (because of the above reports) more resources become available – at the same time only two guaranteed contracts are on the books and the farm system is in better shape – meaning Alderson can start building us a sound, sustainable, professional, winning franchise to watch – I’ll be OK and feel these last few years were worth it. Why or how we get there will not matter to me. However, if this is all just an excuse to get one family’s financial house in order, if nothing changes on field and ‘the goal posts get moved again,’ I fear there could be A LOT of Mets fans who give up and don’t come back…