The New York Times reports that Saul Katz, who along with Fred Wilpon own around a 2/3 interest in the New York Mets, wants to sell his ownership stake.
The problem — if he sells his share, that likely deprives Fred Wilpon of his control of the team, because Wilpon doesn’t independently own 50%+ of the team. He runs it now in a partnership with Katz, who has always left baseball operations to Wilpon. If Katz were to structure the sale of his stake in such a way to prevent anyone else from having a share as large as Wilpn’s — say to separate buyers — he’d get way less than what the shares are actually worth given the lack of any team control offered to the buyers.
So, if Wilpon is to keep control of the team he’d have to buy out Katz himself, which is unlikely given the kinds of cashflow problems Wilpon has. Or I suppose he could try to get Katz to agree to take a fraction of what his large interest might go for in breaking it up among multiple buyers. For what it’s worth, Katz and Wilpon are brothers-in-law and business partners outside of the Mets, so I suppose anything is possible.
My guess: this is Katz making some noise and starting what may be a long process of getting out from under the Mets, not the harbinger of anything imminent given Wilpon’s desire to give the team to his son Jeff and given the logistical problems in place.
But, hey, if it allows Mets fans to at least begin to imagine what it’d be like for their team to be owned by people who actually have money to spend on this team I suppose it’s better than nothing.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.