Browsing Archive January, 2014

Wilpons on Verge of Important Re-Fi

According to the New York Post, Mets ownership is close to refinancing a $250 million dollar loan. The re-fi is expected to give the team more financial flexibility:

Until recently, it wasn’t certain investors weren’t going to insist the team owners pay down some of the loan to get the refinancing done.

Wilpon and Katz will not be asked for any cash paydown, sources said.

Plus, interest payments are expected to stay about the same, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The Mets spent about $87 million on free agents this offseason – a marked jump in spending from the past few years, in particular last offseason, when they spent only $5 million. Perhaps optimism about this re-fi was part of the reason the Wilpons felt comfortable loosening their wallets this winter.

They’re still not spending with the big boys – and no one is going to outspend the Yankees, whether you play in New York or not – but the point is to have the financial flexibility to make the moves you have to make, rather than settling on a team full of minor league contracts with invites to Spring Training.

I doubt this news will inspire any more huge transactions this offseason – Stephen Drew is still in play, but the Mets seem to be treating him as a nice-to-have, not a must-have.

As much as I’ve been critical of the Wilpons, they are at least making an active effort to get out from under the debt left to them by Bernie Madoff.

I hope the next time Fred Wilpon says his financial troubles are over, like he did last year, that it’s really the truth.


News Flash: No News in Metsville

Maybe I was spoiled by last week’s flurry of free-agent signings. Perhaps the Mets should have found a way to space out the news of John Lannan‘s arrival and Omar Quintanilla‘s return. Or maybe I’m just tired of hearing the same stories regurgitated fifteen ways to Sunday since early November.

Will Mets sign Stephen Drew?

Where will Ike Davis wind up?

Lucas Duda will be playing only first base. No he won’t. Yes he will. Nobody’s sure, though we’re sure he’s very uncomfortable playing the outfield.

David Wright is happy.

The Mets are kicking tires on [insert flamethrowing reliever coming off bad year or injury here].

[Insert other team here] has signed [insert free agent here].

A-Rod, blah blah blah.

On the bright side, there has been much more news coming out of Flushing than Milwaukee. Can you believe the Brewers have yet to sign a free agent to a Major League contract?

What New York baseball story this winter has been most tiresome for you? Post it in the comments.


Mets were in on Grant Balfour

After the Tampa Bay Rays reportedly inked relief ace Grant Balfour, baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted this:

So, Sandy Alderson was interested in bolstering his bullpen with a veteran arm – we knew that. We just thought it would be someone like a David Aardsma or Joel Hanrahan, not an established closer like Balfour.

Speaking of closing, would Balfour have closed for the Mets or set up Bobby Parnell? Seems like the team would have wanted him as insurance in case Parnell wasn’t ready for Opening Day. And if Parnell was, Balfour would have handled the eighth inning.

I wonder if Balfour also took that into account when making his decision – I’m sure he wants to remain a closer.

It’s also interesting that the Mets were willing to spend more than $6 million AAV on a two-year deal. That suggests that they still have money to spend, despite the fact that they appear to be at or nearing their rumored payroll limit.

Perhaps they’ll spend that money on another reliever or two, or maybe (dare I say) Stephen Drew. The free agent shortstop seems to be less and less in demand, which should drive down his price. If he and his agent, Scott Boras, get desperate enough, they may even settle for a one-year deal.

Regardless, it sounds like the Mets are not done spending just yet.