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.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.