Wilpon says he's not selling the Mets

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Fred Wilpon is denying the reports that circled yesterday that he’s being forced to sell the Mets on account of all of his losses to Bernie Madoff:

Erin Arvedlund, who penned “Too Good to Be True,” pegged the Wilpons’ losses to Madoff at $700million – the same figure Fred Wilpon’s friend Larry King used in a magazine article earlier this year. That loss is too steep
for the Wilpons to be able to retain ownership of the Mets, Arvedlund
concluded . . . The speculation was met by a forceful denial from the Mets Friday.

“The
author of the book has no knowledge or facts related to the Mets
business operations or finances,” Danielle Sessa Parillo, the team’s
director of communications, said in a statement on behalf of the
Wilpons. “Her speculation that the Mets – or any part of the team – is
for sale is completely false and is irresponsible.”

To further counter that, Wilpon and MLB President Bob DuPuy are saying that the Mets are just fine and dandy, financially speaking. In support, they cite “the Mets’ financial reports, which are filed quarterly,” and say that they “have shown no financial distress.”

It’s probably worth noting at this point that (a) Major League Baseball never allows anyone to see such reports; and (b) such reports are routinely used by MLB and the teams to cry poor, forming the basis of calls for salary caps and player concessions and new publicly-funded stadiums and all of that.  So forgive me if I’m not 100% convinced by this line of reasoning.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.