SBD/January 28, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Wilpon Optimistic About Mets, Defends Payroll

Wilpon defends team's payroll, which he estimated at $150M
In N.Y., Dan Martin reports Mets Owner Fred Wilpon is "more optimistic about his team's future than he's been in a while -- especially after admitting he was 'very upset' after last season." Wilpon said that he "realizes that a lack of additional stars may make it hard for some people to believe that they are actually headed in the right direction," but he "stood up to critics who said his team wasn't spending enough money." Wilpon: "When you look through all of it, our payroll is approaching $150 million, it's not at $48 million." But Martin notes Wilpon "may have overestimated the payroll by about $10 million." Wilpon: "It's a high payroll. It's true, some people have not produced in the past and we're still carrying it and maybe we won't carry it" (N.Y. POST, 1/28). Meanwhile, Wilpon said that he wants former GM Omar Minaya to "return to the organization in an advisory role" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 1/27).

BLUE JAY WAY: MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports "approximately 500 people" attended the Blue Jays' annual State of the Franchise event Thursday night at Rogers Centre. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, President Paul Beeston and manager John Farrell were in attendance for the "town hall-style format, where fans had a chance to pose questions and comment on the direction the organization has taken over the past 12 months." Beeston is "confident in the direction his team is taking." He said, "We don't want to over promise, we want to over deliver. We're not here to be a competitive baseball team. We're here to win the World Series -- and we're here to win the World Series on a sustainable basis. How long that's going to take, I'm not sure. But I do know one thing, we're headed in absolutely the right direction" (MLB.com, 1/28). The NATIONAL POST's Jeremy Sandler writes the event "seemed like a love-in for the team and its fans" (NATIONAL POST, 1/28).

OFF BASE: In Houston, Jerome Solomon wrote there is "something odd about the Astros' 'Multicultural Caravan' that hits parts of the city in the next couple of days." The team should "have an Astros Caravan, go to different parts of the city and spend time with fans to get people fired up about the season." But Solomon wrote, "Must you designate what type of fans and what parts of the city you are going to see on a particular trip? ... What's next, a 'culturally diverse' section at Minute Maid?" (CHRON.com, 1/27).

PERSONA NON GRATA: In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted Angels Owner Arte Moreno Wednesday said that he had "'no interest' in meeting personally" with agent Scott Boras and "would not even use the name of baseball's most powerful agent in answering questions about him." Moreno "had deflected a question about Boras" by saying, "My mother always told me, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'" But Boras "did not fire back" at Moreno. Instead, he "tipped his cap toward the Angels." Moreno said that GM Tony Reagins and "other club executives could handle the Angels' business with Boras, a point with which the agent concurred" (LATIMES.com, 1/27).
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