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.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.