Settlement favors Mets. Will it change things?

Whenever a mediator – in this case New York Gov. Mario Cuomo – brokers a settlement between two warring parties, despite the agreement and presumption of peace, there is a winner.

Cuomo said, “nobody gets everything they want in a settlement,’’ but the Wilpons got what they needed in Irving Picard’s “Battle for the Mets.’’

Sure, Fred Wilpon wanted to come away unscathed, but in the end the settlement was kind to him and the Mets. Wilpon gets to keep his team and could be on the hook for just $162 million, far more palatable than the initial $1 billion lawsuit, and later the $380 million ceiling ruled by Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

Picard saw earlier decisions going toward Wilpon; the Mets saw a long and costly trial.

“The closer you get to trial the closer you get to the reality of trial,’’ Cuomo said.

The reality of it is Wilpon could owe less than $162 because the settlement allows him to go after the $178 million they claim to have lost in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scandal.

Of the $178 million, Picard has already recovered $10 million. So, in essence Wilpon and Picard have formed an odd partnership.

On top of a shrinking settlement, the Mets don’t have to pay anything for three years. While this settlement eases the financial burden on the Mets and possibly offers more a sense of economic clarity, it doesn’t assure the Mets a climate of  “normalcy,’’ as suggested by Cuomo.

Since Carlos Beltran took that curveball from Adam Wainwright to end the 2006 NLCS, normalcy for the Mets has been blown division leads in 2007 and 2008, a shoddy bullpen, a string of injuries, a line of incomprehensible and suffocating contracts, two managerial changes, a front office overhaul and a slashed payroll of $50 million.

The Mets’ austerity forced the trading of Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez, and free-agent departure of Jose Reyes. It could also lead to trading David Wright.

What happened Monday was a victory for Wilpon, but it doesn’t immediately change the state of his team of the field. The Mets are projected to finish last in the National League East in their fourth straight losing season.

That is what normalcy has been recently for the Mets and that isn’t about to change. The three-year relief from making payments is likely to be the same window before the team becomes baseball relevant again.

This was a stressful and expensive ordeal for Wilpon, who saw the very real possibility of losing his team. This settlement gives him a second chance. Hopefully, he’ll make the most of it.


8 thoughts on “Settlement favors Mets. Will it change things?

  1. It’s good to have friends in such very high places .
    Let’s see that is cuomo and selig if have done more for the Wilpons than any other owner.
    Wow just wow

  2. John,

    I have been reading about how cheap Wilpon is and how he does not spend money. Wilpon spent tons of money on players. Anybody Minaya wanted he got at whatever price and years Minaya asked for. Minaya would add extra years on contracts to get players to sign in New York. The winter comes and all the fans want a big free agent signing and when it does not work they want another one. This was all done at the expense of the player development system by losing draft picks and not spending on the draft. Look where it got this franchise. There was maybe a two year window that the Mets had a chance to win a World Series. Did not happen and these long term contracts are now hindering the franchise. Spending 150 million on a payroll does not mean anything. Spending wisely on contracts and development of the minor league system is what Alderson’s plan is and I don’t have a problem with it knowing it will take time. I would rather see Wilpon come out and be honest about and tell the fans there is a plan is place. Signing free agents to large contracts to fill certain areas when the team is ready to compete, like in the mid 80’s Mets to me seems like a much wiser plan.



  3. I could not care less how Mcourt feels. His issues are completely different than those of the Mets.

    This was a good deal for both sides.

    The proof of course is in the signings. If Wright is healthy, they should move to lock him up long term no later than this offseason (if not during the season).
    Then, in free agency, spend WISELY. As glen wrote above, and I have written here and in other places, it is not what you spend, it is how you spend it. Spending $30 million on LOLiver Perez, not smart. Spending $30 million on a younger player, who is good, is smart.

  4. Glen (3): You made an excellent point. As you stated, and what has been written here numerous times, it has been how the money was spent. Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Scott Schoeneweis, Francisco Rodriguez were horrible deals. There is more from the Minaya regime. Don’t forget multi-year deals to Moises Alou, Julio Franco and Guillermo Mota. There are also arguments the Mets bid against themselves for Johan Santana and Jason Bay. Add it all up and the Mets are pushing $150 million with limited return.-JD

  5. Ed (4): As always, thanks for your comment. I realize his issues were different than Wilpon’s, but I was trying to make the point that Selig did not treat him with the courtesy he did Wilpon. …. I’m all aboard with you on spending wisely. And, you beat me to the Wright punch. I’ll be filing that today.-JD

  6. Why did you have to remind us of Julio Franco?!?!?!

    Schoeneweis was a good signing, he was just used wrong. Thanks Willie!

  7. I agree with glen and Ed above. However, Minaya did spend a whole draft on relievers and got nothing out of it.

    I am not sure if I would lock up David. He is a strikeout machine and his power is declining. He gets paid a pretty penny and the money might be spent better elsewhere.