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Beltran's knee: were the Mets incompetent, cheap or both?

Jan 19, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

Peter Gammons has this habit — which I love by the way — of casually dropping bombs in such a way that is sounds like it’s not news at all. But as far as I can tell, this is news:

Everyone in the business understands that the Mets did not insure
Beltran, so that when team physician Dr. David Altcheck and trainer Ray
Ramirez signed off on Dr. Richard Steadman’s decision to perform
arthroscopic surgery in Vail, Colo., it was clear they were afraid that
their worst time-frame fears might be realized and that Beltran could
be out for — and paid for — much of the 2010 season.

I’ve not seen anyone say that the Mets didn’t insure Beltran’s contract. If that’s the case, wow. Sure, you may eat it if your fourth outfielder or lefty specialist goes down, but how do you not insure the centerpiece of your team?

That aside, everything I’ve read previously frames the Mets’ failure to sign off on Beltran’s surgery as the team simply dithering. But were they dithering because they’re simply incompetent when it comes to getting things done or, as Gammons suggests, were they hoping to block the surgery and get Beltran out on the field at some limited percentage rather than have to pay a player to sit on the DL?  It’s great sport to make fun of the Mets’ decisions, but if it truly was the latter in this case we’ve gone from more or less benign bumbling to something much, much more troubling.

And for what it’s worth, Gammons reports that it’s almost certain that Jeff Wilpon knew about the surgery stuff all along, implying that he was the one holding off on giving his OK. In light of this it would not shock me in the least if Omar Minaya’s reluctance to be out in front of this the other day, and instead, have assistant GM John Ricco be the team’s spokesperson, was a function of Omar not wanting to be the fall guy for his boss’ incompetence.  If that was the case, good for Omar.  His imminent termination will probably come as a relief.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 19, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    Joan Payson and M. Donald Grant are beginning to look like the Hera and Zeus of the Mutts’ lost Golden Age, the beginning of the end of which archaeologists generally date from the Nolan Ryan trade and the final moment of which they usually assign to the Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel fiasco.
    Time for my Namaste Yoga girls. Nirvana awaits. Back in a bit.

  2. Moses Green - Jan 19, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Good for Omar. “You want me to go say what? About who? Screw you – do it yourself you dope.”
    Seriously though, as a former insurance sales-schmuck I know a thing or two about this. The landscape for insuring player contracts changed dramatically when ARod signed his Texas contract. Typically clubs used to insure all of their higher multi-year contracts at about 65-70%, and carry the rest of the risk themselves. The ARod contract had around 35% insured. Today most clubs have a mix of insurance and self-carrying the risk on those larger contracts, and they are being underwritten at higher and higher cost to clubs, so it’s not as crazy as it seems on the face of it for teams to cover the risk for certain players themselves. Beltran would be a good example of a guy you might not want to pay big insurance premiums on, when they signed him he was young, athletic, good wheels, a lot of power, basically the skill-set that ages the best. Should he get a bum wheel he still had the power to bulk up and play a corner OF position. I can see where it might have been a higher priority for the Mutts to insure guys like Delgado and their pitchers.
    Anywho, I’m always the first to rip on the Mutts when they do something stupid, but I actually know something about something for once and I can’t hurl stones here.

  3. Old Gator - Jan 19, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Since I spent a good deal of time in the insurance business myself – aviation and aerospace, the interesting years anyway (and though I was never a schmuck, I was often a bastard – though in per George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn, never a fucking bastard), I also know a great deal about this sort of thing, and I can tell you the dirty little secret that no one wants to reveal: the reason that those contracts are being underwritten at a more and more expensive cost is because most of them are being grown for ethanol.

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