What's the Difference between the Mets and Brewers?
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers are supposed to be a small-market club, while the New York Mets are supposed to be a big-market club. Why then is the Brew Crew making the Amazin’s look like amateurs this offseason?

Jeff Wilpon, the New York Mets chief operating officer, actually made some sense the other day when he pointed to payrolls being separate from winning. The Milwaukee Brewers got the message, and they’re showing the Mets how it’s done.

In 2017, the Mets final payroll came in at around $155 million. The team won 70 games last season, meaning they paid just under $2.25 million for each win. By contrast, the Milwaukee Brewers adjusted payroll for 2017 was right around $83 million, which was used to scare the hell out the Cubs by winning 86 games, a cost of $1.1 million per win.

Roughly 1.5 million people live in the Milwaukee metropolitan area versus the 22 million who reside within a reasonable drive to Citi Field. In 2016, The Brewers, according to FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards, earned an estimated $24 million in TV revenue while the Mets hauled in almost double that at $46 million.

That’s it; we’re done with numbers because by now you see the point, which is that Jeff Wilpon is right for all the wrong reasons, and he still insists on looking only at the bottom line when he should be taking a closer look at how and where his millions are being spent.

Suddenly, the Milwaukee Brewers have become the Cinderella team of 2018. In just one week, they secured free agent Lorenzo Cain for five years at $80 million, plus they moved quickly on Christian Yelich, hauling him in before the fire sale is over in Miami. As a result, their total adjusted payroll forecast for 2018, per Spotrac, is only $84 million while the Mets are looking to slash $25 million.

Pray tell, how did they do that?

The Brewers accomplished this feat with the one thing the Mets lack, which is a vision and, pardon me, balls.

In the same way, the Mets do not stack up against the Washington Nationals in the NL East, the Brewers fall short of the Chicago Cubs (at least on paper) in the NL Central. But the difference between the two franchises is that the Brewers have made a few moves to say, “Hey, you’d better be on your A-game because we’re coming.”

Which brings us back to Wilpon and what he is missing. And let’s say we believe Wilpon when he says he’s as frustrated as most Mets fans are, and that in all his heart, he wants nothing more than to bring a World Series back to Queens, beyond the words, where does he lack as an owner?

Jeff Wilpon undoubtedly knows plenty about baseball. Problem is, he’s yet to prove that to the fans. Having said that, he falls short in entrusting his underlings, who are hired because they are baseball people, to do the job for him and his father.

For all that he is, Sandy Alderson is not what he was when he was leading the Oakland A’s and all of baseball as the shining example of what a general manager should be. Whether he’s tired, doesn’t care, or is just too old, he has lost the vigor, foresight, ingenuity, and daring it takes to occupy the position he holds in baseball, as we see it today.

Jeff Wilpon is not likely to know this. From his standpoint, he’s got a guy in place who’s filling one spot on his whiteboard. Alderson is the dutiful soldier who listens to orders to lessen the payroll and life goes on.

Except it doesn’t, Jeff. Your franchise has exactly one player in MLB.com’s recently published Top 100 Prospects list, while your nemesis in the Bronx has six. Your farm system has no one to bail you out in 2018 in the event of injuries, and the biggest news to hit Metland this week is some girl who won the chance to have her prom pictures taken at Citi Field.

Are the Brewers going to be better than the Mets in 2018? I don’t know, but I do know this. The Brewers have been far more energetic and exciting than the Mets have been this offseason. And I beg someone to differ with that statement.

Baseball, as we know it today, involves risk-taking, yes. And you can’t look back as Jeff Wilpon seems to want to do by lamenting about past mistakes and all the money gone under the bridge.

But, then ask yourself, Jeff. Did you make those errors in judgments about baseball talent, or did someone who should know better make those assessments? The Mets began the process of creating a new culture by bringing in Mickey Callaway as the new manager of the team.

But the cancer with the team lies above that level and always has. If the Wilpons do, indeed “care,” they need to look to find what many of us searched for and located long ago. It’s right before your eyes if you choose to see it.

A fan of the Yankees for more than a half-century, the sport of baseball and writing about it is my passion. Formerly a staff writer for Empire Writes Back, Call To The Pen, and Yanks Go Yard, this opportunity with Elite Sports NY is what I have been looking for. I also have my own website titled Reflections On New York Baseball. My day job is teaching inmates at a New York State prison. Happily married with five grandchildren. Living in Catskill, New York.