Plan B for the Mets: multiple, smaller investors

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With their $200 million cash infusion from David Einhorn scuttled, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are taking a different tack.  Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson report that they’re looking into selling smaller stakes “to people willing to invest perhaps $20 million each.” Hurm.

Being a minority investor in a closely-held corporation is not great to begin with. You have no control, really. It’s the sort of thing that, as the Einhorn negotiations showed, would almost compel you to want to (a) have some mechanism to make it a REALLY great investment on its own terms, such as you getting most of your money back later; or (b) have some mechanism by which your minority share could be transformed into a controlling interest at some later date.

But now Wilpon and Katz are basically looking for vanity investors. People who want to be able to say “I own a piece of the Mets.”  As the Times story notes, it’s often the case that “such investors simply want the perks of ownership, like access to suites and the team’s players. Most of these investors do not have ambitions of being majority owners.”

It may be easier to find those kinds of investors, but getting them together, making sure they pay — and continue to pay later when losses need to be covered — and then managing the suddenly-larger ownership group is probably something of a headache.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves