The Wilpons have been majority owners of the Mets since 2002, and have been viewed in a negative light by Mets fans.
Although the Mets have been in the World Series as recent as 2015, they’ve only had 7 winning seasons in the 18 seasons following 2002 with only three playoff appearances.
The Wilpons have been heavily criticized for operating the Mets as a small-market franchise, rather than one playing in the biggest market in the United States. They’ve also been viewed in a negative spotlight due to their heavy association with the infamous Ponzi-scheme leader, Bernie Madoff.
During the 2020 offseason, that was chaotic for the Mets with a hiring and firing of a manager in a matter of months, caught wind that the Mets were in negotiations to sell the team.
According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, he had heard from baseball insiders that the Mets have accumulated 350 million dollars in debt, which could be a driving force on the decision to sell the majority owner of the franchise.
The Wilpons initially worked out a deal that would hand Steve Cohen, a multi-billionaire hedge funder, 80% ownership of the team, while the Wilpons would remain acting owners for five years in which Cohen would then be handed decision-making authority. Talks broke down before finalization due to Cohen being unwilling to relinquish decision-making rights for five years while funding the team.
Sterling Enterprises in association with Allen & Company are engaging potential suitors in a new bid for the Mets. This time the sale would come with no preconditions, and the winning bidder would attain full control of the Mets. The Wilpons intend to keep control of their media partner SNY, although potential suitors are sure to be asking for the high-revenue SNY. Which buyers have emerged so far?
Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez
The star-studded couple have emerged recently in headlines about their plans in preparing to make a serious bid for purchasing the Mets. Rodriguez, who was a polarizing figure on the field, one with great success and controversy, being tied with performance-enhancing drugs. A-rod has certainly changed his image following retirement.
With working with FOX and ESPN as a broadcaster and analyst, Rodriguez has been a charismatic figure, sharing entertaining stories of his time on the field, and has a keen eye for bringing pertinent game elements on the field to life that the common viewer might not realize. Rodriguez has a genuine love for the game, and has been on the record for showing his affinity for the Mets, and how he idolized players such as Keith Hernandez growing up. Rodriguez and Lopez have a combined net worth of an estimated 700 million, which wouldn’t be enough capital to assume the rights of the Mets. Therefore, they are partnering with JPMorgan and Chase to gather wealthy investors to assist their pursuit of a bid.
If Lopez and Rodriguez are successful in purchasing the Mets, they would be getting an owner who has a wealth of baseball knowledge, and one who would be willing to share that expertise with the younger generation of ballplayers. Rodriguez would have a keen eye for talent that would be beneficial in targeting players draft wise, as well as free agent wise. Also, with his relationship with today’s players being highly positive, players would most likely enjoy playing under his ownership. The downfall of Rodriguez owning the Mets would be the financial constraints that would befall the team immediately.
With just purchasing the Mets, Rodriguez would be using all of his financial resources, and would most likely need time to rebuild that wealth to reinvest in the team, which could be problematic with the amount of talent coming off the books following the 2020 season and with a current core that is primed to be built around to win now.
The other option that has been rumored is the reemergence of Steve Cohen. A recent tweet from an ex-classmate from Wharton, Laura Goldman, has stated that Cohen had reentered the bidding for the Mets, and expects to come in at a lower price tag than the previously agreed upon 2.6 billion. This tweet was later confirmed by a different source by Clem of Barstool Sports. If this is the case, it would be a huge win for Mets Fans.
As fun as it would be for Rodriguez to be the owner, Steve Cohen has the financial backing to make a difference as an owner and would be the richest in the league. Especially with a free-agent class that will have Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, and JT Realmuto, you could see Cohen wanting to make an immediate presence felt by the fanbase and team.
As those who describe him, Cohen doesn’t like to lose, especially in financial bids. If this is a true bidding process, there is no way to see how someone outbids Cohen with his Net Worth.
It’s going to be an interesting sale in any case and there may be other suitors who have yet to emerge.
In any case, a new era is about to begin for the Mets, one in which fans hope will be looked back upon more fondly than the one under the Wilpons ownership.
Featured Image: Fox Sports