Fred Wilpon

Fred Wilpon on his money problems: “it’s all in the rear-view mirror”


Fred Wilpon showed up at spring training today and said that his financial problems are over:

“It’s all in the rear-view mirror… The family is in great shape. The family really is in great shape. Sometimes luck is the residue of design … There’s no one in my family — there’s the Katz family, the Wilpon family, kids — [that now] has any personal bank debt. Zero. Everything has been paid. We don’t owe a dollar to anybody … “That’s what made us tight. We were still getting revenues. Lots of revenues. But those revenues were going to pay off debt. That’s done.”

Wilpon said that starting next year that the payroll will go up and Sandy Alderson can chase free agents “if prudent.”

You’d like to believe Wilpon here if you’re a Mets fan. But this is also the guy who, when all of the Madoff stuff began, said that it wouldn’t impact the Mets or the on-the-field product. It certainly has.

So put up or shut up, Fred. That’s the only way you’re going to win back the Mets fans your ownership of the team has alienated.

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.