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Theo to Cubs: What It Means For Mets

Posted By Howard Megdal On October 12, 2011 @ 9:44 am In Player moves,Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

As I expressed last night on Twitter [1], it seems fairly evident to me that Theo Epstein’s move to become the next General Manager of the Chicago Cubs is a net negative for the Mets.
From a competitive standpoint, one of the industry’s best GMs will now be constructing teams that will stand between the Mets and a World Series. But that is only a part of it.
I believe that the advantage the American League has held over the National League in recent years has a lot to do with the performance of the largest markets in each league. Simply put: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles have been irregular contenders at best in the past few years. Only Philly has had sustained success. Meanwhile, New York, Boston, Los Angeles have all been sustained winners in the AL. Chicago has outperformed its NL counterpart. And Tampa Bay has been better than any equivalent small-market NL team.
So shifting that NL landscape isn’t a net positive for the Mets. Moreover, Theo’s right-hand man remains [2] in Boston. So it is reasonable to expect the Red Sox will continue to perform at near-efficiency. Now, so will the Cubs.
Someday, when ownership of the Mets can afford to treat the Mets like a large-market team again, having another large-market team in the bidding for both the best players, and prepared to pay a premium for players a smart GM recognizes as having upside, will produce a negative effect on the Mets overall.
End of the day, this is small potatoes compared to the need to resolve the ownership situation. But baseball, and procurement of talent, is a zero-sum game. So it has an effect.

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[1] last night on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/howardmegdal/status/123955609019236352

[2] Theo’s right-hand man remains: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/12/red-sox-widely-expected-to-name-ben-cherington-new-gm/

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