New York Mets: Jeff Wilpon is already saying goodbye; Steve Cohen era is around the corner

New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon

Hedge fund billionaire and longtime New York Mets‘ fan Steve Cohen earned the right to exclusively negotiate to acquire the team, and the transaction is all but done already. The only thing separating Cohen from his beloved Mets is the approval of at least 23 of 29 MLB owners, and that is expected to come soon.

As a result, current New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, whose family has been in charge of the team since 2002, is already sending his goodbye messages around the organization. That is another signal that the sale of the club is right around the corner and a matter of days, not weeks.

NJ.com writes that Cohen could take over the Mets within a week, and that has prompted Wilpon to begin his farewell messages.

A Mets’ goodbye call

According to the New York Post, a Mets source told that the team held “an organization-wide Zoom call to award employees who had reached milestones for service. At the conclusion of the call, COO Jeff Wilpon thanked all of the employees and bid them farewell, a strong sign that a change in ownership is imminent.”

Sportico reported some of the call details. “One person on call said: `It was definitely a goodbye.’ Wilpon talked highs: 2015 World Series; Building CitiField and lows: not winning as much. Call lasted 15-20 mins. Wilpon named people with many years w/ club.”

Since the Wilpons took over the Mets, the team advanced to the 2015 World Series, which they lost to the Kansas City Royals.

Just a few days ago, the league’s ownership committee signed off on Cohen’s deal. The so-called formal vote by the 29 remaining owners could come as soon as this week, right after the 2020 World Series.

The Mets were valued at more than $2.4 billion, which is what Steve Cohen bid for the team.

New York Mets: Cohen Has Votes in Place For Ownership Approval

New York Mets

Steve Cohen’s quest to own the New York Mets is reaching the finish line. The 14 billion dollar man should receive at least 23 of 29 votes from the owners to gain the franchise’s full ownership. Of course, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office is the final hurdle, but de Blasio does not see it from stopping Cohen from disposing of the Wilpon family.

There is also confirmation from inside sources working for the Mets. During an employee zoom call today, Jeff Wilpon said good-bye to everyone for good. Despite sources against Cohen making it seem like de Blasio will stop the sale, no such dream for them exists.

Vote, Vote, Vote

The only guaranteed vote against Cohen will come from Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He voted against Cohen in 2012 and this year as a member of the MLB ownership committee. Reinsdorf is a good friend of Alex Rodriguez and may bring 3-4 owners to vote against Cohen, but it will not be enough to stop the inevitable.

For those who dislike the way Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez handled their loss to Cohen, they get the last laugh too. If the couple was the group the owners voted on, they would not get the votes needed for approval. It is no surprise that A-Rod would get this treatment considering his controversial career and the number of enemies he created over 25+ years.

As the week begins, we are in the final turn of the final lap of this long, strenuous race to rid the Mets of the Wilpon family. If all moves as expected, the words “Steve Cohen owns the Mets” can be tweeted by the end of the week.

 

New York Mets: Thursday was a weird day as the Wilpons bash Van Wagenen for hot mic mishap

Thursday was a weird day for the New York Mets. Yes, the on-field demonstration by the Mets and Marlins players was powerful: they stood up for 42 seconds and then departed the field just before their scheduled game, only to leave a Black Lives Matter shirt on the diamond. But a few things happened that will sure create some tension in the organization.

It all started with a misunderstanding early in the day. General manager Brodie van Wagenen was the victim of a hot mic moment, as he was captured on video (livestreamed to Mets.com) criticizing Commissioner Rob Manfred’s leadership after he thought the idea that was being discussed, which was leave the field at 7:10 pm to return to play an hour later, would go against the players’ desire not to play.

“That leadership level, he doesn’t get it,” Van Wagenen said on the leaked video while talking with two people. “He just doesn’t get it.”

“Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution, saying, ‘Oh, you know what would be super powerful — the three of us here, [this information] can’t leave this room — you know it’d be really great if you just have them all take the field and then they leave the field and then they come back and play at 8:10,” Van Wagenen said on the video. “And I was like, ‘What?’ ”

But a few hours after the incident, he said he misunderstood the whole deal and that the idea of returning to play one hour after the initially scheduled time belonged to New York Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon, who didn’t know at that moment that the players agreed not to play at all on Thursday night.

The Mets’ GM apologized to Manfred for involving him, erroneously, in the situation.

“My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon,” Van Wagenen said. “… I didn’t have the tone or the context to it. … It wasn’t Rob and his leadership that was requiring or suggesting or mandating anything by the stretch of the imagination. … I recognize that it was a disrespectful move to his office and to him.”

The Mets’ owners heavily criticize their GM

CEO Fred Wilpon bashed Van Wagenen for his comments. “I am very stressed and disappointed to learn tonight that our General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, made disrespectful and inaccurate comments about our Commissioner, a long-time close friend of mine. I hold Rob in the highest regard and in no way are Brod[ie]’s remarks reflective of my views or the organization’s,” he said in a statement. “Rob continues to be a great leader of Major League Baseball. I apologize for any harm this incident has caused Rob.”

Separately, Jeff Wilpon also released a statement, again aimed at the Mets’ GM. “To clear up any misunderstandings, it was my suggestion to potentially look into playing the game later because of scheduling issues,” he said. “Brod[ie]’s misunderstanding of a private conversation was and is inexcusable.”

It raised some eyebrows that Jeff Wilpon spelled Van Wagenen’s first name as “Brody.”

In the end, Van Wagenen owned up to his mistake. According to the New York Post, he said:

“I hold myself personally responsible for this. Hot mic or not hot mic, I made comments that damaged the reputation of the commissioner, that hurt the New York Mets organization. But my apology goes beyond just to the people I may have damaged, but more that my name and my face and this zoom conference is part of the conversation today,” Van Wagenen said. “This conversation is about the players making a statement. This conversation is about recognizing the pain and the anguish that black people are experiencing every day in this country. the fact that I’ve put myself and this organization in the conversation in a way that takes away from the real point, I’m disappointed in myself … and I accept responsibility for that.”

Overall, a day to forget for the Mets.

New York Mets: First Day of Bidding, Cohen Out in Front

The highly anticipated first day of bidding to own the New York Mets came with plenty of excitement. At least five potential owners submitted bids to own the franchise valued at $2.4 billion.

The name most Mets fans want to hear is Steve Cohen. He is the bidder with the most money at his disposal and submitted a monster bid. Cohen not only offered $2 billion for the Mets but added another $2 billion on top to buy out SNY from the Wilpons.

He has made it clear that he does not want the Wilpon’s to have any power that he cannot control. The Wilpons always hoped to keep SNY separate, but every man has a price. Cohen puts himself at the top of all the bidders with his enormous offer.

What About A-Rod?

The rest of the bidders have not offered any price as high as Cohen’s. Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez led group put together an offer of $1.7 billion. It does exclude SNY from the deal, which would make them the front runners if the Wilpons stay strict on their pursuit to keep SNY.

David Blitzer and Josh Harris, owners of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, also submitted a bid. The details are still unknown, but it falls under the “underwhelming” category, along with A-Rod/J-Lo.

The rest of the bidders are simply speculation as of Friday. Simon and David Reuben, billionaires from the U.K., also have an interest in owning the Mets. Their interest has grown over the last couple of months, but they have a net worth higher than Steve Cohen’s.

More details should emerge over the weekend. One thing for sure is that Steve Cohen is not going to lose this battle without a long, expensive fight.

New York Mets: Things Heat Up With Potential Sellers

New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon

As the 2020 season seems to die in front of our eyes slowly, the potential sale of the New York Mets is heating up. Former buyers and new clients are lining up to purchase one of MLB’s most valuable franchises.

The Steve Cohen saga to purchase the Mets has no end in sight. He originally backed out from the 2.6 billion dollar deal, which included the Wilpons partial ownership for the following five seasons. Cohen said the Wilpons were negotiating in “bad faith” but does not rule out entering another bid. He is waiting on the season’s resumption and will also ask for more control of SNY with his future offer.

J-Rod Ownership?

The group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are active in their pursuit of the Mets. They connected with an unnamed backer who could bring up to $250,000 to add to the group’s funds. Rumors say two investors through Galatiota Sports Partners will bring in a combined 250 million dollars.

Galatiota helped Josh Harris acquire the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011. Harris is also interested in purchasing the Mets. Based on his work with the 76ers and New Jersey Devils, he would be a terrific replacement to the Wilpons.

Wilpons Scramble

The longer baseball goes without a season, the lower the value of franchises become. The Wilpons, known for the lack of funds to run a franchise, hope to extend a 250 million dollar loan, which expires after July. They hope the loan extension is for a year, which gives time for all of the turmoil in baseball and the world to settle. They want to avoid an auction, which would make it easy for the Harris/Blitzer group to swoop in and buy.

If the Mets are not sold by 2021, they will partake in their version of Moneyball. Any high priced talent will either get kicked to the curb or never receive an offer. For most owners of a sports franchise, it becomes a business-first mentality, but it seems the Wilpon’s have forgotten about the sports side of it and just want to break even when they through with the franchise.

Can This Former Yankee and His Fiancé Still Buy A Team?

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

It would have been a weird look for Bronx natives, for Yankee Alex Rodriguez withdrew his bid with fiance, Jennifer Lopez, to buy the New York Mets. Before going more in-depth about the collapsed bid, and looking to the duo’s next move, a former Yankee, and “Jenny from the block” setting up shop with the team from Queens? While I’m not a fan of A-Rod’s, that would have been just too weird of a move for baseball.

Okay, back on track.

Why the Bid Fell Apart

A-Rod and J-Lo were teaming up with a Long Island billionaire named Wayne Rothbaum. It was more out of convenience that the three agreed to enter this partnership then they all got along. From Thornton McEnery of the NY Post, “He was not their first choice, but he was the first to agree to the next steps.” Rothbaum also wanted more control in his stake of the bid than the happy couple wanted to surrender.

The J-Rod/Rothbaum group was looking to also purchase SNY as well as the Mets from the Wilpon’s. The Wilpon’s have no intention of selling SNY with the Mets. What made the Cohen bid this fall go as far as it did last winter was Cohen left SNY off the block with his $2.6 billion bid. The Wilpon’s were steadfast in that being the new benchmark for a bid should they sell.

But with teams around the country set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to the pandemic this season, will the Wilpon’s agree to a deal that’s less than $2 billion, or even go low enough to sell the team for less than $1 billion? Governor Cuomo was quick to reference the Wilpon’s voicing their concern over how much money they’d be losing on top of paying players’ salaries.

Will They Try Again?

If the deal with the Mets materialized, J-Rod would be minority owners in the club, but would undoubtedly serve as the face of the club, much in the way the Jeter is the face of the Marlins. The two have a combined net worth of $700 million, meaning Rothbaum was going to be the principle owner on paper. As their wedding has been indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic, it feels safe to say one will. With A-Rod’s interest in business investment in his post-playing career, coupled with his long-standing desire to be a front office executive/owner for a professional team, it seems like a foregone conclusion that there will be another attempt by Alex to buy a baseball team. Whether Jennifer decides to join him remains to be seen, but if her philanthropic endeavors during the pandemic don’t satisfy her, yea… I think she’ll sign up again.

New York Mets: The Variables of the Pending Season

After MLB owners approved the plan to continue the baseball season, the war between the league and the players union is ready for its first battle. Out of all teams, the New York Mets find themselves in a unique situation compared to the rest of the league.

Outside of health concerns, the battle of salary negotiation is going to be the biggest fight in the process. Union chief Tony Clark and legendary agent Scott Boras both agree that being paid a pro-rata salary would be the agreement whenever games resume. The sacrifice stands at 30-40% of wages, which the owners claimed as feasible, according to the owners.

According to Boras, his clients are not willing to budge from the agreement. If salaries receive a blindsided cut, it will extend the baseball drought longer. Should the union have a legitimate legal case, the damage could wipe out the rest of the season. But Clark is just as poor as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. This situation serves as a prologue to how next year’s discussions on a new collective bargain agreement will play out.

The Mets Effect

The only Boras represented Met is Michael Conforto, and luckily 30-40% of his $8 million salary is $2.4 million through $3.2 million. That number is no worry for the organization, especially with the rest of their high priced talent.

The conflict comes from Wilpon ownership and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen. First, the Wilpon’s have continuously lost money from the Mets franchise over the last few years. The revenue from SNY, which the Wilpons also own, covers the losses from the organization.

Due to the revenue from SNY, the Wilpons call it untouchable in any team sale discussions. Since revenue should grow from SNY, since fans will not attend games, they might squeak by and suffer minimal damage to their finances due to the lack of fan revenue. But you can never be sure with the Wilpons.

Agent to GM

Van Wagenen plays a role more connected to the players. Not too long ago, he was the co-head for CAA Sports Baseball Division, which happens to represent the most players (6) on the current 40-man roster. Should the Mets look to cut more money from the players, Van Wagenen would have to side with ownership since they write his paychecks.

Four of those players make less than three million, including Brandon Nimmo and Robert Gsellman. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are the two high priced/talented members of CAA. Van Wagenen also negotiated the current contracts Yoenis Cespedes, and Robinson Cano collect. Cespedes already lost money in the offseason due to an injury on his ranch.

Van Wagenen does not make any final decisions, but he knows both sides of the fence. His voice will be heavily relied upon to fix and issues between players and ownership without it creating a media storm. Not to mention, he has to figure out the best pieces for a potential 82-game season at the same time.

Van Wagenen is a master agent and earned the GM job because he knows how to handle strenuous situations. He will be able to take any negative that comes out of the meetings and make it a positive. Few GMs in baseball have that ability.

New York Mets: Wilpons Won’t Sell SNY With the Team

As baseball continues to take a seat with the Coronavirus pandemic running rampant in the U.S., the Wilpons are still searching for the right buyer for the New York Mets. One guarantee of the future sale is that SNY will continue to belong to the Wilpons no matter what.

SNY has been the Mets network where a majority of the games air since 2006. The unwillingness to part ways with the network cause a conflict with Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to acquire the franchise. SNY makes money while the Mets are losing up to $90 million per season. The Mets games are going to be on SNY for at least ten more years, which is a guaranteed profit for whoever owns the team.

One Controversial Group Against Another

The Wilpons 65 percent ownership of SNY is what levels off the high loss from owning the Mets. Steve Cohen was the only one willing to strike a deal without SNY. While the Mets have been struggling to make money without baseball games, the Wilpons have made a move to ask their minority owners to make commitments to the team.

A-Rod has found biotech investor Wayne Rothbaum to partner in the sale. Rothbaum brings in the money the A-Rod group needed, which makes the push to buy legitimate. He was part of a group with Jeb Bush that pursued the sale of the Marlins in 2017.

Rodriguez Takes a Backseat

What comes with Rothbaum joining the team is that MLB will want to see him in charge instead of Rodriguez. The same way Magic Johnson takes a limited role with the Los Angeles Dodgers. A-Rod has never been the type to avoid the spotlight either as the villain during his playing day to the hero he tries to play now.

Without any sports right now, the potential Mets sale at least gives fans something to be hopeful for in 2020.

Governor Cuomo Talks Baseball/Mets with His Brother Chris

new york mets

Originally hailing from Queens, it shouldn’t surprise any that New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is a New York Mets fan. Utilizing that common knowledge, the governor, in his interviews with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, brought up his conversations with one of the Wilpon’s.

Why the Testing Isn’t the Wilpon’s Biggest Complaint

There are still plenty of ideas about how to restart the baseball season when MLB decides to restart the baseball. Dr. Fauci stressed that the Arizona idea was plausible, only if the stipulations of no fans in the stands, all teams and essential personnel are sequestered in a hotel room, and everyone is tested regularly are met. Well, with the 26 men on the roster, if we have a 4 month season where each player is tested only once a week, that’s over 12,000 tests. If you were to look at the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US (700 thousand plus), and the US population (over 300 million), and the first case was recorded in January, there isn’t a lot of tests available.

That’s not Jeff Wilpon’s biggest concern, according to the governor.

“Apparently Major League Baseball would have to make a deal with the players,” Cuomo said, essentially breaking MLB news and cutting out the usual “sources close to the owner” rigmarole that the Wilpons usually use to get their message out. “If you have no one in the stands, then the numbers are gonna change, right? The economics are gonna change.

“But if Major League Baseball and the players could come to an agreement on how to adjust the economics for that reality, that would be a good thing. We have to start to move to normalcy, and people have to start to see some hope and light.”

In the time of a global pandemic, where everyone, INCLUDING athletes, are financially struggling, leaves it to the Wilpon’s to be more concerned about how much money they’re making and losing during the crisis.

New York Mets: Governor Cuomo says Jeff Wilpon is Open to Playing Season

With all sports at a standstill, it is good to hear any type of news related to baseball. Los Angeles Mayor, Gary Garcetti, said having no live sports until 2021 is possible, Governor Andrew Cuomo had a different take. On his brother’s, Chris Cuomo, CNN program, Andrew spoke of a conversation he had with New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon.

Wilpon said he would be open to playing in an empty stadium but at the cost of players taking a pay cut. Immediately this brings up the typical cheap comments about Wilpon, but he is not alone here. Most owners throughout sports are going to see an economic loss. Even when fans are allowed to congregate in stadiums, attendance will very slowly work its way back up.

Bring Back Some Type of Sport

Cuomo made it very clear that he wants sports brought back this year. What Wilpon told Cuomo is only a thought during a phone call. A lot more has to be drawn up before any of this takes place.

MLB’s CBA expires following the 2021 season, and forcing players to play with reduced salaries will make negotiations tougher. Tony Clark and Rob Manfred are also poor at their jobs as union rep and commissioner, respectively. All of this combined makes the situation of players taking pay cuts to play in empty stadiums an unlikely case.

On top of that is the uncertainty of the Coronavirus. The timeline is very uncertain, and the ramped-up social distancing does not help baseball’s cause.