PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- What is projected to be the largest single-season payroll drop by an organization in Major League Baseball history got agent Scott Boras talking.
Boras was asked Monday if New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and family should remain in control of their franchise after slashing the payroll from $143 million to $91 million in one offseason, according to The New York Times.
Speaking in generalities about big-market teams, Boras said: "When they are not providing fans with the highest quality of play, and they take an attitude of 'we're going to take on a development role,' knowing that the TV contracts, the market size and such allow them revenues that far exceed many of the clubs that have to pursue those development policies, that impacts the game. The major franchises who are getting the majority of revenues should provide a product, or an attempt at a product, that has the near-highest payrolls commensurate with the markets they are in."
Last week Wilpon told reporters at Mets camp that team officials now largely will go the development rout, since the franchise had been burned on mega-contracts in the past, including a three-year, $36 million deal with Boras client Oliver Perez.
Boras said that owners get rid of underachieving players to better the team. Why shouldn't baseball do the same with owners, he said.
"If a player does not perform for the betterment of their team, then teams bring in other players," he said, according to the Times. "On the other side, there has to be an equation where there are requirements for ownership to perform at certain levels, and if they don't, they would lose their right to own a club and be replaced. I believe if we do that, we're going to have a better game."
Boras continued: "When you're seeing franchises in major markets not pursuing to the levels that the revenues and the fan base and the market provide, then I think you have an ethical violation of the game."
Boras insisted to ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday morning that he was not singling out Mets owners in the comments to the Times. He just believes in a general sense that major market teams have a duty to their fans to spend at competitive levels.
"I didn't speak of anyone's name," Boras said. "I didn't speak of anyone's franchise."
Boras also told ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand later Tuesday that he texted Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon to clarify his comments.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.