Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was on the scene when a reporter asked Phillies president Pat Gillick about whether or not Ruben Amaro, whose contract is up after the 2015 season, will survive the season with his job. Gillick:
“I’ve got his back . . . I’ve got confidence in him . . . Ruben didn’t all of a sudden get dumb. People don’t want to hear this, but there were five years from 2007 to 2011 and the last year in 2011 we won 102 games. He didn’t all of a sudden get stupid the last three years.”
Amaro is certainly under a lot of pressure at the moment, tasked with tearing down and rebuilding a Phillies team that got old, expensive and not very competitive in a hurry. Task number one is trading Cole Hamels for a good return and possibly unloading Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.
It won’t be an easy task. And it may be one that will be completed by someone else.
Charles Gasparino reports that billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has submitted an offer to buy the Mets for $2 billion as well as an additional $2 billion for SportsNet New York (SNY). The Mets own a 65% controlling interest in SNY. (Full disclosure: Comcast, through NBC Sports Group, owns an 8% share of SNY.)
As Jon Heyman reported yesterday, the Mets were expected to accept the first round of bids by Thursday. Cohen was one of a handful of bidders that also included Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Álex Rodríguez and Jennifer Lopez, and the Reuben brothers.
Cohen and the Wilpons were believed to be in agreement on a deal back in December that would have increased Cohen’s ownership share from 8% to 80% in exchange for $2.6 billion. However, the deal fell through as Cohen grew upset the Wilpons attempted to change the terms of the agreement at the last minute. The two sides have, obviously, patched up their differences.
As Sportico’s Scott Soshnick notes, the offers in the first round of bidding are non-binding. At any rate, given Cohen’s preliminary offer, the Wilpons are likely to collect quite the windfall. Fred Wilpon bought a 50% stake in the Mets for $81 million in 1980 and bought the other half in 2002 for $391 million.
Perhaps with different owners, the Mets could get back to being consistently competitive. Since 2012, the club has sat in the middle-third of the league (rank 11-20) or lower in terms of total payroll.