Mets owners lose a key battle in the Madoff mess

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A federal appeals court yesterday gave some bad news to Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz: the bankruptcy trustee’s calculation of how much Madoff money they have to return was upheld — and Wilpon and Katz’s much lower calculation denied — meaning that they have to fork over $300 million.

To be clear: this is a separate issue from the “Wilpon and Katz should have known it was a scam” claims that the trustee has been advancing and for which he is seeking some $700 million.  That will be taken up Friday in another hearing and, based on some previous indications from the judge, the trustee has an uphill climb in establishing that Wilpon and Katz should be on the hook for that.

But even though this is much smaller in dollars and does not touch on any culpability on the part of the Mets’ owners, it ain’t exactly good news for them either. At least, assuming they don’t have a spare $300 million laying around.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.