It's supposed to be a great day for Met fans - the return of actual games. I've been looking forward to this afternoon's exhibition season opener all week. And now it's all ruined by revelations that MLB had to lend $25 million to Met ownership last fall just to keep baseball operations running.
We've heard a lot of spin all winter about how the Mets' financial situation won't affect the product on the field. But now that's even harder to believe. Not when all the money coming off the payroll after this year will now have to go to paying off debt.
Any big-market team with a Jose Reyes would have re-signed him by now. But the chances of that happened just sank even lower.
I would still like to believe that Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo will be judged on their ability to contribute, not on their contracts. But how will it look if a team that had to borrow $25 million sheds two players making a total of $18 million? It shouldn't matter, but then again, if it really didn't matter, this dead weight would already be off the team.
Last year brought a burst of hope when the Mets signed Jason Bay. But the good feeling, at least among those of us that thought it was a good move at the time, didn't last very long, with the unexpected news that Carlos Beltran was undergoing knee surgery.
Then when spring training started, Reyes returned, only to go down with a thyroid issue.
Met fans might still be better off than Cardinals fans this spring. Adam Wainwright is irreplaceable, and losing him could ultimately lead to losing Albert Pujols. But not by much. The Mets have lowered expectations so much that we are expected to be satisfied with a team that manages to finish over .500.
Actually, finishing over .500 might be fine if it were a steppingstone to competing in 2012 with a roster revamped with all the money coming off the payroll. But what are the chances of that now?