NEW YORK — In what is being billed as a consolidation — which comes as the franchise attempts to navigate tough financial straits — the Mets announced today that it will drop its entry in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
“For 2012, we will be conducting our three Rookie League teams in Kingsport, TN and out of our facility in the Dominican Republic and will not operate a team in the Gulf Coast League,” read a statement sent out by the organization.
The GCL team was based on Port St. Lucie, Fla., which is also home to the team’s spring training operation.
Even with the reduction, the Mets will operate eight minor-league teams in 2012, a larger number than most other big league clubs. The Mets will continue to field rookie-level teams in the Appalachian League (Kingsport) and two in the Dominican Summer League.
Still, the cut appears to be the latest example of the team’s faltering financial state under the Wilpon family’s ownership.
It’s unclear how much money the Mets will save with the move. According to a baseball executive, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly, organizations can spend anywhere from $400,000 to as much as $1 million per season to field a Gulf Coast League team
The price tag, the person with knowledge said, can vary depending on the number of support staff and players on the roster.