This is a good day for the Mets’ owners.
Less than 12 hours after learning that the Wilpons and Saul Katz reached a settlement out of court to pay $162 million to trustee Irving Picard in the Bernie Madoff case, Teri Thompson and Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News are reporting that the Mets’ owners have closed those long-awaited deals to sell 12 minority shares in the team. Additionally, they have repaid their $25 million loan to MLB, a $40 million loan to Bank of America and additional club debt.
The minority shares are worth $20 million each. The total of $240 million is expected to cover the team’s operating costs during the 2012 season. Two of the shares are going to the Wilpons and Katz while another four are going to SNY, their partnered cable network. The only other known investor is hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who is considered one of the frontrunners to buy the Dodgers.
I suppose it’s not surprising that this news came out on the same day as the settlement, as the Wilpons and Katz want to put this whole mess behind them and look like a solvent ownership group as soon as possible. Whether this is a positive development for the franchise or Mets fans in the long-term is up for debate, but the PR campaign is in full effect.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.