To most Met fans, it doesn’t matter that the team is six games under-.500. This year is a wash, with the pandemic continuing and the quality of baseball has changed due to all the bells and whistles MLB added to the game this season. (Yes, the extra inning rule has to go.)
But this season is more of the endgame for the Wilpon regime as they are in exclusive negotiations to sell the team to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who is reportedly worth almost $15 billion dollars, making him the richest owner in baseball once he gets approved. Cohen reportedly bid $2.35 billion for the club.
More importantly, though, once the deal goes through, Cohen will have control of the club, unlike the deal back in December where the Wilpons would have hung around for five years.
Cohen will have to get approved by the other owners, but you would think that will happen mainly because his buying price for the Mets will raise the values of all the other clubs. The Wilpons are selling either way, so it behooves them to approve the largest bid.
But even if this deal gets the Wilpons out of Flushing, they still will be involved, because the Mets television network SNY is not involved in the deal. However, you would think the Wilpons will sell their share down the line. The Mets contract with SNY, which pays the club a paltry $56 million for the right every single year expires in 2030, so what the Wilpons own is a depreciating asset. The longer they hold the network, gives Cohen more reason to look at alternate plans once 2030 rolls around. He could sell the rights to MSG or YES or just start his own network, leaving the Wilpons out in the cold.
So right now, SNY is at its high point in valuation. For all their flaws, the Wilpons are not stupid and will realize they need to sell their network before it becomes worthless.
Then there are other questions. Does the deal include the minor league affiliates owned by the Wilpons? You would figure the Mets minor league complex in St. Lucie is included, but will Syracuse be part of the deal? Or more important would the Wilpons maintain control of the Brooklyn Cyclones and let Jeff run the club? It’s conceivable, as that franchise becomes a Double-A team, the Wilpons will affiliate with another franchise like the Yankees, just to stick it to Cohen.
And then there is the big club. Once Cohen comes aboard, does he clear house? Is Brodie Van Wagenen have a job come next year or Luis Rojas. From all indications, Cohen is going to spend money and will bring in the best and the brightest in the industry. Both Van Wagenen and Rojas are fine men, but their decisions in the front office and dugout, respectively has raised eyebrows. They could be the first to go.
So, no matter what happens over the next month. It’s still a good time to be a Met fan. Even if this season is a loss, there will be a bright future coming in. The Steve Cohen era is about to begin.
Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire