May 26

Mets OK minority owner; still have major problems.

The Mets have the minority owner they hope will be able to bail them out of their major financial mess in the fallout of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Mets to get minority owner.

David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital Inc., will purchase roughly 25 percent of the team for roughly $200 million. The sale does not include any ownership segment of SNY. The $200 million will go toward paying down the Mets’ considerable debt, which includes repayment of a $25 million loan to Major League Baseball.

The Mets confirmed the sale this morning in a press release, saying Einhorn has a non-operating stake in the team.

“We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons,” owner Fred Wilpon said. “David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. Equally important, David’s intelligence, integrity and success in both business and civic affairs provides us with another perspective in evaluating what is best for this organization and our fans, and we welcome his input. In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”

EINHORN BIO

Einhorn, 43, co-founded Greenlight Capital in 1996. He is the author of “Fooling Some Of The People All Of The Time,” a book detailing his battles with Allied Capital. Considering how all this transpired and the parties involved in the Ponzi scheme, it is an ironic title.

Einhorn grew up a Mets fan and dressed up as Dave Kingman one Halloween.

“Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams,” Einhorn said in the release. “ I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets.  In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween.

“ I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team.  I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”

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May 25

How much does Alderson know about Wilpon’s finances?

GM Sandy Alderson said a $100 million budget is news, and he hasn’t spoken with owner Fred Wilpon about next season. Alderson anticipates a payroll between $100 million and $145 million. That’s a wide berth, and the spectrum ranges from being able to compete to being a bottom feeder.

ALDERSON: How much does he know about Wilpon's finances?

When he took the job, Alderson said expectations are high in this market and meeting them means spending. Alderson said it is not guaranteed the Mets won’t make an offer to Jose Reyes. There can be no assumption made, Alderson said, Reyes will be is gone.

Alderson has made some conflicting comments regarding his role and the Mets’ financial picture. He said going in he knew money would be tight around the Mets, and indicated just because money will be come off the books doesn’t mean there will be wild spending next winter. He also said he’s been assured there’s enough money to make a contract proposal to Reyes.

How big that proposal is uncertain, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication it will be made any time soon.

Considering Alderson’s reputation, I find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have greater knowledge of Wilpon’s financial problems then he is letting on. Maybe not to the penny, but definitely with a handle on next season’s budget.

How do you take such a job without knowing that information?

Or, considering he took the job at the urging of commissioner Bud Selig, maybe he knows it all and is just minding the store until it is sold.

May 25

What will happen next for disappointing Mets?

In researching Today in Mets History, I didn’t discover much besides Al Weis’ homer, but odds are there will be nothing more significant than tonight’s response  to last night’s 11-1 embarrassment at Wrigley Field.

For the second straight game, a sloppy big inning did them in, but overall, they committed three errors, had their bullpen torched, watched Jon Niese struggle again, didn’t hit, and for good measure, had Jason Bay injure his right calf.

Bay isn’t expected to play tonight, assuming weather allows the game to get it. Maybe not playing will be a good thing for the Mets as it will give them another day to stew over owner Fred Wilpon’s comments. Wilpon, guarded for so long, called out his three best players and termed the Mets a “crappy” team, only with vulgarity.

Manager Terry Collins insisted Wilpon’s comments and the swirling controversy about payroll and who will or will not get traded had no bearing on last night. Perhaps they didn’t, but there’s no way if this continues that it won’t have an accumulative effect.

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May 24

Damage control by Wilpon and Mets.

In what best can be described as panic damage control, owner Fred Wilpon apologized to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes in a conference call this afternoon. Wilpon also left a message to David Wright.

REYES: Biding his time.

 

On SNY, there’s a feature on the 1969 team, as if that will prove a distraction from today’s mess.

Meanwhile, at Wrigley Field this afternoon the Mets held a “let’s band together’’ team meeting in the wake of Wilpon’s comments and news the team will lose $70 million this season. Beltran said he’s 100 percent and not the 65 to 70 percent Wilpon claimed.

Reyes said all the right things, such as the owner Wilpon can say what he wants, and “I’ll give the team everything I can. … I’ll continue to do my job and play my game.”

Reyes will not talk about his future. He’s not lobbying to stay here.

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May 24

Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.

It’s not like Fred Wilpon wasn’t telling the truth.

Let’s face it, Carlos Beltran isn’t the player he thought he signed after the 2004 season. It’s true, injuries sapped his talent and forced him to move to right field in the final season of his $119 million contract, and the last two years have been a waste.

THE STRIKEOUT: Nobody forgets.

The contract and signing have looked more and more a bust as the team slid out of competitive status.

Wilpon called himself a schmuck for signing Beltran based on a strong playoff series while with Houston in 2004. Beltran had problems his first year getting acclimated to New York, but there was a toughness to him. Afterall, this is guy who played with a broken face after a gruesome collision with Mike Cameron in late 2005.

Beltran played hurt and for the next three seasons produced numbers, but no, they weren’t the numbers Wilpon had hoped for when opening his checkbook.

Beltran rebounded from his first year in New York to hit 41 homers with 116 RBI in 2006, but never reached that height again and slid to 33 homers and 112 RBI and 27 homer and 112 RBI in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Decent numbers, but more was expected for that kind of money.

And, as with most Mets, there was criticism about hitting in the clutch.

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