Remember that stuff I was saying about ignoring the celebrity owner speculation when it came to the Mets? The New York Times apparently doesn’t read HardballTalk, as they report today that Donald Trump has spoken to the Wilpons about buying into the Mets and will meet with the team soon. Trump says, however, that he’d only want a majority interest, not a minority stake like the Wilpons have said they want to sell.
Of course later in the article the Times explains all the reasons why Trump would almost certainly not be approved by Major League Baseball, not the least of which is that he owns casinos, which is explicitly banned by Major League Baseball. The fact that Trump isn’t really as rich and powerful as he likes to pretend he is probably has a lot to do with it too. In this Trump is less qualified than you or I to own the Mets. I mean, we may lack the money too, but at least we wouldn’t be on the banned list.
Trump, for the purposes of the Mets, is no different than Jerry Seinfeld or any number of other celebrities who are fun to pair up with the Mets in the papers. What’s more is Trump, unlike Seinfeld and some others, is way more invested in cultivating his public image as someone important and thus is way more likely to plant this kind of thing himself than for there to be any real legs to it.
I already promised to eat my hat this month, so I can’t do that again. But I’ll eat my 1983 New Jersey Generals poster if Trump ends up as the majority owner of the New York Mets.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.