Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

Madoff trustee throws some new stuff at Wilpon and Katz

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Both the New York Times and the Post today run with the latest filing in the Bernie Madoff/Wilpon/Mets case. The allegation: in 2001 Wilpon and Katz went shopping for “fraud insurance,” and that by doing so it shows that they had reason to believe that Madoff was, in fact, a fraud, it says.

For those who forget, the trustee, Irving Picard, is claiming that because Wilpon and Katz “knew or should have known” that Madoff was a fraud, they are responsible to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to Madoff victims, so this would be evidence supporting that, he claims.

Eh.  Look, I’m still generally skeptical of claims by the Wilpons that they were babes in the woods here, but this “shopping for fraud insurance” allegation doesn’t do much to support that in my mind.

For one thing, they didn’t buy the insurance. If they thought there was a serious risk of Madoff’s pyramid crumbling down, wouldn’t they have?

And more to the point, isn’t shopping for insurance a sign of prudence?  Just because I buy auto insurance doesn’t mean I’m gonna go crash my car into things. Just because I buy home owner’s insurance doesn’t mean I’m gonna burn the place down. I trust my doctor, but I’m damn glad he has malpractice coverage.

Insurance is just something you look into as a matter of course. You’d be shocked to see how many specialized insurance products are out there on the market. It’s almost as if insurance companies have a keen sense of how to prey on the insecurities of people in order to make a buck. They don’t mean anything in and of themselves.

So, sorry. If there were emails from back then saying “Hey, Fred! We all know that Madoff is a scam artist, so let’s buy some awesome insurance so we can skate!” fine, then it’s something. But the mere fact that someone was looking at this kind of insurance doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot for me. At best it’s spice in the gumbo. It’s not the shrimp, and without any shrimp, it’s pretty useless.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.