Tag: Wilpon

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.

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Wilpons Apparently Limit Budget to $25-30 Million

According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, Mets ownership is changing their tune about the team’s budget.

Following the season, Jeff Wilpon stated that finances were no longer a problem for the team.

“It’s all in the rear view mirror,” Wilpon said about past financial woes.

If that were actually the case, then the high cost of free agents wouldn’t matter, right? What am I missing? In this article from October 29th, Wilpon was paraphrased as saying:

…the Mets will have the financial wherewithal to address those needs. After years of working with a bloated payroll thanks to big contract to Johan Santana and Jason Bay, and the financial burden of pending legal matters from the Bernie Madoff scandal, Mets Sandy Alderson will be unencumbered when the Mets hit the market, Wilpon said.

Fred Wilpon has made similar assertions, even as far back as February. And in every case, they seem to present GM Sandy Alderson as the only roadblock to spending. From Fred:

Asked if the team payroll, which is now about $90 million, will soon enough return to the $140 million level it stood at several years ago, Wilpon said: “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

From Jeff:

“Depending on how it all presents itself, that has always been part of the plan, to use the money coming off the books and improve the team,” Wilpon said.  I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to happen, as we get further into the offseason, we’ll know a little better.

It’s the Wilpons’ money, and now, according to Harper, they are dictating to Alderson how much to spend. That was the case all along. They told previous GMs Omar Minaya and Steve Phillips how much to spend (and when to spend it) as well. The GMs proceeded according to their marching orders.

Having a lavish budget doesn’t guarantee a contender, but it certainly gives a team more flexibility to acquire the pieces it needs. If what Harper says is true, Alderson once again has to get creative on a relatively limited budget dictated by an ownership group that is still financially limited, no matter what they’ve said publicly.

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Link Roundup: Now with 20% More Deer Antler Spray

I call him "Rob."

I call him “Rob.”

More PED news impacted Major League Baseball this week, as several players were linked to a dodgy anti-aging clinic in Miami.  Among the players were OF Nelson Cruz, LHP Gio Gonzalez, 3B Alex Rodriguez, OF Melky Cabrera, and RHP Bartolo Colon.  A-Rod, Cabrera, and Colon have all been linked to/suspended for using PEDs in the past, so this isn’t much of a surprise.  But Cruz and Gonzalez are under suspicion for the first time.  Naturally, they issued denials, but it’s so hard not to be skeptical if you are a baseball fan these days.

The good news is, they are under investigation.  The bad news is, PED use is still happening.  Perhaps stiffer penalties are the answer, as Matt Holiday suggested.

Contrary to popular belief, PED use happens in other sports, as evidenced by the alleged use of deer antler spray by Ray Lewis.  If true, that would explain why he came back from his injury so soon, and why he always freezes when he sees headlights.  The media is actually paying attention to this story, but he’ll eventually get a pass (no pun intended), as most NFL players do.

Even golfer Vijay Singh is facing PED accusations!

Sandy Alderson didn’t need PEDs when he talked to season ticket holders on Wednesday night.  During this time he said, “The reason we haven’t spent the money is not because of Fred Wilpon,” he said. “It’s because of me.”  I wonder how much he’s getting paid to throw himself under the bus?  In this blogger’s opinion, he’s covering for the Wilpons, whose ongoing financial catastrophe has been well documented.

In other news, Wilmer Flores had a breakout season in 2012, but where will he ultimately end up in the field?

Bloggers are still buzzing about Banner Day, which has now been moved to May 11, Mike Piazza, and the World Baseball Classic.  Here’s a nice take on all of these subjects by Kerel Cooper.

Pitchers and catchers report in only 12 days, and hope will spring eternal once again.

 

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Link Roundup: A Re-Fi and a Goodbye

The Mets refinanced anywhere between $450 and $700 million in existing debt, depending on which source you trust, which means the Wilpons will be sticking around.

Joy.

This also means the team will be paying off this debt for years, which may result in more offseasons like this one, where even teams like the Kansas City Royals outspend the Mets.  Some would say the Wilpons are holding our team hostage.  Well, it’s either them or their creditors.

Here is some additional detail about the loan.

While the Wilpons are sticking around, Ted Berg, one of my favorite Mets bloggers, is leaving SNY.  Sounds like Ted is semi-retiring from his blog as well.  Godspeed and best of luck to Ted in all of his endeavors, including trips to Taco Bell and the local deli.

Meanwhile, the Mets are looking for a warm body to fill R.A. Dickey‘s spot in the rotation.  And they’re looking at Chris Young.  Again.  The only similarity between Dickey and Young is that they both top out at about 83 MPH.  Of course, that’s the speed of Young’s fastball.

The Mets still need outfield help as well, and Mack has been scouring the rosters of other teams to find a potential target.  The Mets are also looking to Anthony Recker to add some catching depth.  The 29 year-old Recker showed some pop in the Athletics and Cubs minor league system, but has put up Nickeas-like numbers in his limited action in the majors.

At least third base is secure for a while.  Here’s an interesting blogger roundtable about the future of David Wright.

That’s what’s going on in the blogosphere.  Keep checking out Mets Today for more on the maneuverings of the offseason.

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The Contract Offer: Wright or Wrong?

Can the Mets afford Wright AND the rest of the team?

I’ve been avoiding the subject of contract extensions for David Wright and R.A. Dickey because A) I don’t feel like speculating about if every single day, especially when I know next to nothing about what’s going on behind closed doors – like everyone else, and B) Everyone else has already chimed in on it.  But now, because an offer has been REPORTEDLY made, and I’m feeling narcissistic today, I will chime in.

According to various sources, the Mets made an offer to David Wright that consists of 7 years at about $20 million per.  My immediate reaction?  If they can afford Wright at that price while still keeping money in the coffers to fill other positions of need, then let’s do it.  If they’re breaking the bank for one player, and we have to have another year of Josh Thole behind the plate, an outfield of Lucas Duda/Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Mike Baxter, and Frank Francisco closing games, then don’t.

However, since I’m writing stream-of-consciousness…

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Blog Roundup: Wilpons Still in Debt

After dropping 2 of 3 from the defending champion Cardinals, The Mets find themselves 7 games under .500, and 9 games out of the wildcard.

The good news is, R.A. Dickey pitched 6.2 innings to earn his 18th victory on Wednesday.  With 5 starts left, he has a great chance of reaching 20 wins, and he also has a great chance of winning the NL Cy Young award.  The bad news is, the Mets are going nowhere fast.

According to the first link below, the Mets lost $70 million in 2011, and they are on track to lose $23 million in 2012.   That means they will likely not spend money this offseason, and may even look to cut salary.  So, the team will have to make do with what they have, and once again, find bargains on the free agent and trade markets if they want to improve.

It will be interesting to see how the front office approaches the offseason and 2013.

To the Blogs:

Enjoy the links, and keep checking out Mets Today.

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Blog Roundup: Queen City Edition

Tonight, the Mets open a series in Cincinnati against the Red Legs and their mustachioed Mr. Met clone mascot.  The Reds quietly own the second-best record in baseball (behind only the Washington Nationals), and lead the NL Central by 5 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  So, the struggling Mets have their work cut out for them.  Maybe it’s time to break out the Underdog t-shirts and hope for the best.

On to the Blogs:

  • Kranepool wonders why the Wilpons won’t just level with us fans about their current situation.
  • Trash Talk Sports puts into words the frustration we Mets fans always feel around this time of year (NSFW Language).
  • Bleacher Report slide-shows some of the best things about being a Mets fan.
  • Metstradamus credits the late Gary Carter, who never cussed, for coming up with the ultimate F-Bomb.
  • Rant Sports believes the Mets will put Scott Hairston on waivers, and trade him sooner than later.
  • Daily Stache, meanwhile, wonders why the Mets haven’t traded Hairston yet.

Mets Today is staying put, so stay tuned for the continuing adventures of our beloved Mets.

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Blog Roundup: Financial Edition

The heavyweight court bout between Wilpon, Katz, and company vs. Irving Picard ended in a…well, sort of split decision.  All in all, it was good news for the owners of the Mets, as Fred, Jeff, and Uncle Saul only had to payout a paltry $162 million.  After the ruling, the Mets were able to sell 12 minority ownership shares of the team at $20 million apiece, infusing $240 million into the organization.  This allowed them to immediately pay back their debts to the Bank of America and Major League Baseball.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, the Wilpons won’t be forced to sell the team.

The Blogs check their accounts:

  • Ian O’Connor of ESPN thinks Fred is still a loser.
  • Hardball Talk says the Wilpons are happy, and praise Mario Cuomo (this is not a blog post from the mid-80s).
  • Amazin’ Avenue explores the ramifications of today’s ruling.
  • MMO wonders if this means better days ahead.
  • Metstradamus examines what this does to the culture of negativity among Mets faithful.
  • Tedquarters, meanwhile, is always thinking about his stomach (apologies to Han Solo).  How would you define a sandwich?

We here at Mets Today work for free, so we don’t have to worry about million dollar settlements.  Stay tuned for more Mets news.

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