Howard Megdal | Vocativ- It’s hard to overstate the opportunity the New York Mets currently enjoy. It’s no less hard to overstate the absurdity of how little they are doing to capitalize on it. But that’s not how this is going down. Because the New York Mets’ owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, are drowning in debt. Back in 2008, the team’s investments with Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff were discovered to be a fraud. Accordingly, just to stay afloat, they needed to take out a $430 million loan against the team and $450 million against their majority ownership stake in SNY. Ever since, the Mets have managed to get by annually by diverting revenue from their baseball and television operation into the financing of debt. Prior to the refinancing of the past two years, the annual interest on these two loans plus debt balloon payments of more than $43 million have exceeded team payroll itself.
(Chris Soto: We all knew that the Wilpons had fallen on hard times after the Madoff fiasco...but the sheer size of the loans that were needed in order to keep their businesses afloat is just maddening. No wonder the Mets have no money to spend on the team.....because it's all tied up in interest expenses. The scary thing is, the whole diverting profits from baseball to personal businesses is exactly what got former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt booted from the league. Yet Bud Selig found it appropriate in the Wilpons case? Strange indeed.)
(Chris Soto: While I certainly question some transactions that the Alderson/Ricco/dePodesta troika has made, overall I continue to support their regime's path and strategy towards building a multi year contender. One thing is very clear about this off-season, they do not want to commit to anyone past a 2 year guarantee. This lines up nicely with when all of the Big 5 SPs [sans Steven Matz] will be receiving arbitration raises. Perhaps there is future plans to sign these guys to guaranteed extensions. If that's the case then I can see why the club doesn't want to bog down future payroll commitments yet as shown in the graph below.)
HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
- The reason 2B Daniel Murphy's market has been so quiet is because he himself was not aggressively pursuing a contract. Until the Mets traded for Neil Walker, Murphy was still holding out hope that the only team he has ever played for would make him a better offer than a 2 year contract.
- The deadline to submit offers for Japanese RHP Kenta Maeda has been set for January 8th. Maeda is the best SP to come from Japan since Masahiro Tanaka and is expected to fetch a similar contract to the 7 yr/$155M Tanaka received.