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Wilpons in talks to sell up to 80 percent of their interest in the Mets

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Bloomberg is reporting that the current owners of the Mets are in talks to sell up to 80% of the team to billionaire Steve Cohen, who is currently a minority owner investor in the club. The transaction would value the team at $2.6 billion. Bloomberg says the Mets confirmed the talks in a statement.

Those Mets fans who dislike current owner Fred Wilpon and his son, team president Jeff Wilpon, should not get too happy just yet. Why?

Fred Wilpon, the team’s principal owner, will remain in his current role for at least five years, at which time Cohen will have a path to controlling the franchise, said the person. Jeff Wilpon, his son, will remain as the team’s chief operating officer for the five-year period, the person said.

That said, if the Wilpons — whose financial setbacks over the years are said to be the primary the reason the huge-market Mets spend like a mid-market team — are no longer the actual controlling owners, it’s possible that they may get a green light to spend from Cohen in ways they haven’t in the past.

Guess we’ll see.

Cohen has long sought to own a team outright. His original investment in the Mets was with an eye toward, eventually, buying the team if he could. After that he was in talks to purchase the Dodgers and, later, made an effort to purchase the Padres. Now, it seems, he’ll have a chance, finally, to join baseball’s ownership club.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.