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The Mets' financial future

Joel Sherman wrote a thought-provoking column yesterday, wondering whether the Mets should hold a fire sale to not only build toward, say, 2014 or so but also enhance the Wilpons' chances of keeping the team.

It's a fascinating idea. Partly because I'd love to see what Sandy Alderson and his crew could produce (in both trade returns and reappropriations toward the amateur draft and Latin America) given such a challenge. But partly because it pits two of the Wilpons' fundamental tenets against one another: I'm not sure "tenets" is precisely the right word, but just go with it.

Their primary tenet is, "We want to keep the Mets." As we know, the Mets' first family (including Saul Katz) are going to fight hard to beat the odds and keep the team they have occupied since 1980. As Joel points out in his column, if the Mets pared their payroll down to the $70-$100 million range, allowing them to operate at a profit, that could help them get through the Madoff/Picard storm.

A very important secondary tenet, however, is, "Make money, now!!!" Sell tickets now, in other words, and once you sell tickets, that means you'll sell parking spots, food, beer and souvenirs.

And a fire sale? Well, as Joel wrote in his column, some fans would get it, from a baseball perspective, and suck it up for a couple of years, hoping for a payoff with a team that can legitimately compete with the Phillies. Many fans, however, would not be so supportive - especially given the ill will that many fans feel toward the Wilpons - and spend even fewer bucks on their favorite team.

To be fair to the Wilpons, many owners seem to tilt toward those fans who yearn for instant gratification, who won't respect a "process" even when the people running the process (like Alderson) have a proven track record. Just look at how Brian Cashman was overruled by Hal Steinbrenner on the Rafael Soriano contract.

--Anthony Scaramucci, who reportedly has paid the $25,000 fee to check out the Mets' books (as part of the Wilpons' announced effort to sell a minority share of the team), is a big Mets fan. The New York Times reported that Scaramucci's group "is positioning itself as a friendly shareholder." 

Scaramucci has a relationship with Bobby Valentine; Valentine spoke last year at Scaramucci's conference in Las Vegas (scroll down). That's probably why Valentine was initially reported to be part of Scaramucci's group; the Times reported that isn't the case.

--In his first Grapefruit League game of the spring, Carlos Beltran looked good running the bases, although we certainly must wonder whether Beltran should've been making a mad dash for home in a March 6 game.

--Brett Gardner is working on a new swing, Erik Boland writes.

--Alex Rodriguez is pleased with his spring training.

--The Phillies are great, we know, but they've had a rough camp. Chase Utley took a cortisone shot on Friday for his ailing right knee, while rookie Domonic Brown will likely need surgery to repair a broken right hand and will miss the start of the season.

--Don't forget, live chat at 2:00 tomorrow. You could be our next Live Chat MVP.

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