Union chief Michael Weiner made his annual visit to Mets camp this morning to address the players on a number of issues.
In regards to the Mets, Weiner said he was not concerned about their ability to make payroll, and he was hopeful the Wilpons would continue to field a "competitive" team.
"There’s a couple levels there," Weiner said. "One is, we want to make sure all contractual obligations to the players are honored, and we’ve been assured through the commissioner’s office that that’s the case. There’s no concerns there. As far as the broader questions, look, it’s in the interests of everybody associated with baseball that the National League franchise in New York be a strong franchise. The Wilpons have always attempted to field a competitive team. They’ve had success at doing that during their tenure and we certainly hope they’re in a position to do that. But the real key is less what the payroll of the Mets is that a team like the New York Mets in the National League from New York should be in a position to be a strong franchise."
As for how that might affect the free-agent landscape, Weiner said it was to his union's advantage to have the Mets remain a big-market, big-spender.
"Look, you’re right in this sense," Weiner said."The key to a strong player market is having a number of different teams out there competing for players. We know that in any given year, you’re not going to have 30 teams out there competing for players. That’s just not the way it works. So look, whether it’s the Mets, whether it’s the Dodgers, frankly, whether it’s the Twins or the Dodgers or any team, if there’s something that would prevent them from participating as they normally would in whatever cycle that would be in bidding for players, that’s a concern. At this point, we’ve been assured through the commissioner’s office that the Mets are going to be able to operate as they have in the past."
Weiner also was confident that the Mets would not look to avoid Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5-million vesting option and would use him in an appropriate manner this season.
"We monitor every situation for compliance with the basic agreement, but I have every expectation that the Mets are going to honor both the basic agreement and Frankie’s contract," Weiner said. "There’s arbitration precedent that deals with that that essentially says that the club’s decisions for using a player have to be motivated for trying to win. There’s arbitration precedent that makes clear that a team cannot sit a player down or decline to use them in order to prevent him from earning a bonus or having a year vest. But again, I have every expectation that the Mets are going to fully honor their commitment."