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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.