Baseball season is right around the corner and the New York Mets have been a hot topic around the MLB with questions about a potential ownership sale, their second managerial hire of the off-season, and the potential return of a big bat to the lineup.
Back in December it was revealed that the Mets owners, the Wipons, had a deal with hedgefund owner Steve Cohen to transition ownership to him. Earlier this week, we found out there was a breakdown along the way and the deal is now officially dead. For now, Fred and Jeff Wilpon remain in charge of the Mets, much to the dismay of fans like myself.
Let’s break down the breakdown.
Cohen wanted more power – Duh. Cohen was going to pay $2.6 billion upfront as part of a 5-year plan to gradually transfer power over to him. But there was a catch – Jeff Wilpon would remain in control of baseball operations have final say over those 5 years. Who in their right mind would pay $2.6 billion for something and not want to make final decisions about their new product?
Jeff Wilpon’s salary – Maybe this was obvious to some, but I had no idea that Jeff Wilpon has an annual salary. I know his official title with the Mets is COO, but I assumed since he and his father were the team’s owners, that he didn’t get paid to own the team. I was wrong. Jeff gets paid and that was another big sticking point in the contract. Not only did Cohen need to continue to pay Jeff for those 5 years, but Jeff expected an increase in compensation each year. Spoiled brat…
Cohen signed the papers – My understanding is that the 5-year transition plan and salary were all written into the initial term sheet. Who knows if that’s true or not, but from what I’ve heard, the Wilpons did not do anything shady (we heard this from an MLB commissioner who does not have a good track record). IF (big if) true, then why did Cohen sign the contract? He had to know what he was signing? I get that he realized later these conditions were outrageous, but if he agreed to them at one point, that’s a bad look for him.
At the end of the day, it sounds like the Wilpons do intend to sell the team and will do so in a more traditional way by putting the team on the market and opening it up to bidding. It’s in their best interests to do this as quickly as possible. Wilpons were already unliked around NYC and after this fiasco, regardless of whose fault it was, they will be even more despised than before.
Luis Rojas is the new manager
I was really upset that Carlos Beltran was fired. He’s one of my three favorite Mets of all-time (Wright and Piazza) and that my was #1 guy, even over Joe Girardi. I thought he could connect with the players and be creative enough to impact games in ways other managers previously haven’t.
What’s unfair is he was a player during this Astros scandal. No other player has been or will be punished. He was only punished because, two years later, he is in a position of power. Red Sox fired Alex Cora and Astros fired AJ Hinch after both men led their teams to World Series. Carlos Beltran didn’t even get to lead his team to Opening Day. The Mets and MLB both did him dirty.
But moving on, I am fine with hiring Luis Rojas. I think he will be better than Mickey Callaway, so that’s a major step forward. With his previous experience, he will be able to connect and bond with the players and let’s cross our fingers that his game management and in-game decision making skills are sharp.
The return of Yoenis Cespedes
Remember him? Cespedes released a hype video on social media earlier this week.
One of the lines in here bothered me (at the 1:00 mark). It was a media member claiming the Mets made a colossal mistake giving him the second contract. Look? Yeah. In hindsight it was a terrible idea. Even at the time, most fans knew it was a mistake. But he was the only positive thing going for this team and after his 2015 heroics they HAD to sign him in 2016. Fans would have burned Citi Field to the ground, quite literally. After 2016? You can debate whether or not he should have been signed again to that second contract, but the Mets really had no other options.
I wanted him back at all costs and he came back. And so far, has been a failure. But I don’t regret it for one second.
Maybe Rojas can get through to him. He is in a contract-year, after all. And we have seen what he is capable of doing in a contract year.