Mets owner slams Wright, Reyes and Beltran

New York Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon talks to reporters at a news conference at Shea Stadium in New York in this October 1, 2002 file image. The owners of the New York Mets turned a blind eye to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and should give up roughly $300 million of fictitious profits they made from the now imprisoned swindler, a new lawsuit said. Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee recovering money for Madoff’s victims, claims the partners at Sterling Equities, including the Mets’ Fred Wilpon, “were simply in too deep — having substantially supported their businesses with Madoff money — to do anything but ignore the gathering clouds. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen/Files (UNITED STATES) – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL BUSINESS CRIME LAW)

When your ballclub is in financial ruins because you mistakenly invested a significant amount of coin in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, naturally the next step is to criticize your own players when speaking to the media.

That’s exactly what Mets owner Fred Wilbon did when he spoke with The New Yorker’s Jeffery Toobin for a story about the impact of the Bernie Madoff investment scandal. In Wilbon’s crosshairs were Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran.

Shortstop Jose Reyes and his contractual future:
“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford ($142 million) money. .. He’s had everything wrong with him physically). He won’t get it.”

David Wright and his rough start this season:
“He’s pressing. … A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”

Carlos Beltran and the current $119 million contract Wilpon, himself, handed out:
“We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on one (postseason) series. … He’s 65 to 75 % of what he was.”

There will be some Mets and non-Mets fans that will say Wilbon spoke the truth. And maybe he did. Maybe he’s right when he says Reyes is delusional about wanting Carl Crawford-type money, that Wright isn’t a superstar despite being viewed publicly as one of the best at his position, and that Beltran is a shell of his former self.

But whether or not you agree with what he said, he still shouldn’t have said it. It does him, nor the Mets organization any good to dog the club’s three best players. What will these comments say to future free agents? Hey, come sign with the Mets and you not only can play for a crap team, but maybe one day you’ll get slammed by the owner as well! It’s a riot!

There was nothing, and I mean nothing, constructive about Wilpon’s comments. If you’re an owner, you just don’t say what he did, regardless of whether or not you’re just “speaking the truth.” He’s running a professional baseball organization for cribs’ sake – it’s never a good time for an owner to slam his players unless he’s trying to motivate them. And even then: Shut your mouth and let your baseball people handle the baseball operations.

I don’t follow the Mets 24/7 so if I’m wrong with what I’m about to say, someone please tell me. But as far as I can tell, Wright, Reyes and Beltran have been nothing but professional when it comes to the Mets and the media. They would never say anything about their owner like what Wilpon said about them. And to Wright’s credit, he e-mailed Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal saying: “Fred is a good man and is obviously going through some difficult times. There is nothing more productive that I can say at this time.”

The key word there is “productive.” There was nothing productive about Wilpon’s comments and it’s nice to see that in the wake of being dumped on by his owner, Wright stayed classy.

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