Friday, January 28, 2011

Wilpon Family Considering Taking on 20-25% Partner

The Madoff scandal that captivated the entire country has lingered due to a law suit in which trustee, Irving Pickard, is fighting to get the money back to all the people who were lost money in this Ponzi scheme. The New York Times reports that Pickard could be seeking up to a billion dollars from the Wilpon Family for gains they made off the Ponzi scheme.

It was orginally thought the Wilpon family lost a ton of money in this scheme yet it turned out otherwise at the end of the 2009 season.

"When Madoff -- a former Wilpon family friend -- was arrested in 2008, it was reported that the Mets had lost hundreds of millions of dollars from the multibillion-dollar scam. But in October 2009, Picard claimed in a court filing that the Mets profited almost $48 million, withdrawing about $571 million after an initial investment of $523 million." -Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com
Due to the ongoing concern and uncertainty of the situation, the Mets released a statement today that they are considering options like bringing on a financial only partner.
"However, to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win, we are looking at a number of potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor."- Fred Wilpon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Mets, and Jeff Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets
During todays conference call, both Jeff and Fred Wilpon made it clear, no matter what they do, they will still be the principle owners of the Mets, and nothing they do will have any effect on the on field issues facing the New York Mets. Yet he does not limit the options to just giving someone a 20-25% stake in the Mets.
 "I don't say that we're not going to take on a partner, but there are other options out there that we're going to explore. So we'll take on whatever we think we should do in the best economic interest of the ballclub. So it could be a partner, it could be some other kind of mechanism to recapitalize a little bit."- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon
So how much money are we dealing with? According to The New York Times,"The lawsuit seeks to recover not only $300 million in what the trustee, Irving H. Picard, calls “fictitious profits” — the difference between what the Wilpon and Katz entities put into Madoff’s investment firm and what they took out over their many years of investing — but also additional millions, according to the two lawyers, who would not be identified because of the secrecy surrounding the case."

The New York Mets were appraised to be worth $858 million dollars by Forbes magazine in 2010. A source quoted by the New York Times is skeptical the Wilpons will be able to stay as principle owners if they lose the trial.

"I think [Fred Wilpon] has a very serious problem," the newspaper quoted the source. "If that's true, he might have to sell the Mets."

The Wilpons also stressed that the Major League Baseball Commissioners office have not put any pressure on the Wilpons to think of adding a partner. Yet, according to another New York Times source, the Mets have requested a meeting with Commissioner Bud Selig next week to inform him to the full extent of the Madoff situation and how it will affect the New York Mets.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best of New York Bite 1-27: Toby Hyde Interview


Mets Minor League Blogger, Toby Hyde joined me.

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Adam Rubin Interview with Daniel Murphy

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will he CASH his last pay check at the End of the season?

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, has been in the news alot lately. He is not a hot topic on twitter for signing top Free Agents Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, in which he swung and missed, but for saying things that just dont need to be said.

It starts with the Rafael Soriano signing. Much controversy erupted when it became clear that it was not Cashman but Yankees President Randy Levine, who did the contract negotions with Scott Boras to give refief pitcher Rafael Soriano a ridiculously big and interesting contract.

To start, Levine had made Soriano one of just six relievers in all of baseball to make over $10M in 2011. Although Soriano seemed to command a lot of money- many around baseball believe the Yankees once again outbid themselves. In the contract though was a very unorthodox opt out situation in which Soriano could walk away from the contract after year 2 or 3 and the Yankees would recieve no compensatory draft picks.

Cashman had several problems with the deal, of both the monetary amount, using up the majority of the remaining allocated resources, presumably left aside to aquire a bona fide starting pitcher like FA Kevin Millwood. Cashman also hated the idea of giving away draft picks by signing him because they had to forfeit them because he is a type A free agent.

Rumors got out, that Levine was the one that negotiated the contract, and many people believed Cashmans role and autonomy in the Yankees Upper Managment was be diminishing. And instead of going out and saying he was behind the signing of his new setup man, he admitted to the media that he completely disagreed to the signing.

Then just yesterday, at a breakfast function for charity, Brian Cashman was having a baseball talk with some fans present and said that he presumed Derek Jeter could not play shorstop for all four years of his contract, and would have to move most likely to centerfield before his deal was up. Now, since he has altered his comments saying there were no plans in place and that it was not even mentioned in Dereks contract negotiatons.

Now, you could say these are of no great signifcance. Yet, it demonstrates to clear trends. One, Cashman obviously does not have full autonomy if Randy Levine, who has no baseball operations background is now negotiating terms with Free Agents against the will of the General Manager. Two, Cashman has been free to speak his mind as of late. Although he may not have anticipated his comments carried so much weight, the entire Yankee organization have come to a new form of communicating things-through the media.

Now with all the criticism, fair or unfair of Brian Cashman this winter, coming up short on both Lee and Crawford, he can certainly be blamed for his recent comments that serve as nothing but a way to distract Yankee fans of the fact Ian Nova and Sergio Mitre join a rotation that has A.J. Burnett(10-15) as its number 3 starter.

We need to wonder if Soriano work out, and Levine and Co. come to the realization that they can make baseball operation decisions as well as baseball operations people, will Cashman be CASHing his last paycheck next october?

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Mets Minor League System: Middle of the Pack?

Sandy Alderson took over and assured the Met fan base, the minor league systems were in far better shape then people gave it credit. He said, unlike some popular opinion, the Mets have actually a middle of the pack farm system.
When Terry Collins, who served as the Minor League field coordinator of the Mets in 2010 took over, it was reasonable to believe him aswell, it was assumed noone knew the farm system as well as he did, and if he said it was good- it was.

Yet today Keith Law of ESPN.com, ranked the New York Mets 26th in Minor League Baseball organizations, hardly middle of the pack.

From all my reading and talking to people, I have come to understand the Mets had a fairly decent Minor League system before former Mets General Manager Omar Minaya took over. Minaya planned to use his Latin connection to help him with both aquiring Free Agents like Pedro Martinez, and Carlos Beltran, but also try and get some young talent from Latin America. Instead of spending money on the draft, they decided to not spend overslot, and therefore not aquire much talent. According to Law, this has caught up on them.

Baseball America has ranked the Mets top 10 prospects as follows:

1-Jenrry Mejia, RHP
2-Wilmer Flores, SS
3-Cesar Puello, OF
4-Matt Harvey, RHP
5-Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF
6-Reese Havens, 2B
7-Lucas Duda, OF/1B
8-Fernando Martinez, OF
 9-Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B
10-Brad Holt, RHP
But according to Jonathan Mayo of Mlb.com, none of the Mets prospects ranks in the top 50 in baseball, in fact according to Mayo the Mets highest ranking prospect Wilmer Flores(58) is an oversized shortsop who will eventually move to either third or first, positions that seem locked up by face of the franchise David Wright and emerging young talent Ike Davis.

In his top 50 prospect list, 26 teams were represented. The Mets, Marlins, Brewers and A's were the only teams not to have a representative.

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Toby Hyde: Tim Teufel Effect on Young Hitters

Last Friday former '86 Met Tim Teufel was introduced as the new skipper of the Mets AAA affiliate the Buffalo Bisons. Tim Teufel has worked his way up to this role, starting in low A ball in 2003 as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

On his Mets Minor League Blog, Toby Hyde, discusses the effect Tim Teufel has had on young Met phenoms Ike Davis and Josh Thole.

Toby will join me on the New York Bite Thursday Night at 7:30, make sure to tune in and listen to his thoughts on ESPN's Keith Law ranking the Mets as the 26th best minor league organization.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Would Peyton Manning think of Signing with team Other than colts?

I have learned from a source who knows a source who is close to Free Agent Quarter Back Peyton Manning's agent that Manning has no desire to resign with the Indianapolis Colts, and actually has made it clear that he wants to sign with a team who is willing to allocate proper funds to be competative.
 
Now- take this information with just a grain of salt. It may be entire crap, but it is fun to think about so I decided to think about it a bit more. How accurate this source is, well, its probably not very reliable, as many including Manning's agent have come on the record saying he is confident a deal "might get done." Yet, for the conspiracy theorists inside of us, lets wonder if Manning would ever sign to a different team. For all I know, Peyton Manning may want to be a Colt for his entire career, but is that the only place he is willing to play?

Why would Manning want to leave the Colts, as he is the face of the franchise, and coming off of nine straight ten plus win seasons?

Over the past decade, the Colts have not signed premiere free agents, but decided instead to attempt to win with the same core- that comes up just too short.

Maybe Manning is fed up with the Colts unwillingness to spend to put them over the top. After nine consecutive ten plus win seasons, look for Manning to join a competitve team willing to spend to improve like the Dallas Cowboys and Owner Jerry Jones, who would be happy to make Peyton Manning the top paid player in the history of the NFL.

In a Sports Illustrated article published today, Colts owner Jim Irsay, has gone on the record saying he will make Manning, the only four time MVP, the highest paid player in the NFL. Irsay is confident he will get a deal done by March regardless of a new CBA, yet this is not the first time he has tried to come to an agreement with Manning.

"Irsay wanted to reach a new deal last summer and when that didn't happen, the Colts tried to make Manning a formal offer during their bye week. Condon then told them Manning wanted to focus on football, not contracts, until after the season. Now, things could get complicated."- Sports Illustrated

Well let me tell you, I would not be suprised at all if Manning does indeed resign with the Colts. But I think this is not the same team he once had with his old reciever Marvin Harrison and coach Tony Dungy. This was another year under Jim Caldwell that fell short. At thirty-five Manning may realize he wants to win again, and Indy may not be the best situation to do that- I dont think he will mind if he becomes highest paid player along the way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jets fall short once again

Well, there is something to be said for consistency. One year after losing to the Colts in the AFC championship game, the Jets traveled to Pittsburgh to try their luck and secure a super bowl bid.

And once again, they will return to New York having come up one game short of their goal.

The game started uncharacteristically for the Jets as Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall ran all over the Jets and ended the drive with a 1 yard touchdown run. One of the best rush defenses in the NFL was dominated by Mendenhall who rushed for 121 yards with one Touchdown. But more importantly than the score, Mendenhall both demoralized the Jets defense and tired them out as well.

After a two yard rush by Ben Roethlisberger, and a fumble returned for a touchdown, the Steelers led 24-3 at the half, and all seemed hopeless for the Jets.

But the Jets got the ball at the half and Mark Sanchez threw a 45 yard bomb to former Steeler Santonio Holmes to make it 24-10. The Jets then got their first major defensive stop of the game as safety Brodney Pool intercepted Roethlisbeger at the five yardline.

The fourth quarter started with a long drive by Sanchez and the Jets, but down by two scores, the Jets were playing as if it were the first quarter in a preseason game. They were running the ball every other play and just letting the clock tick down. Then on first and goal from the two, the Jets failed to get into the endzone four times and the Steelers got the ball back.

Roethlisberger fumbled the snap and the Jets scored a safety, but they still needed two touchdowns to take the lead. They scored one on a two yard pass to Jericho Cotchery, but chose to kick the ball to the Steelers. On third and six with just under two minutes left, Roethlisberger did what he does best. He fled from the pocket and threw an easy six yard pass to Antonio Brown for a game-ending first down. The Steelers kneeled the ball three times and the game ended. Final Score: 24-19.

Looking on ESPN this morning, I saw Mark Sanchez reporting that his headset broke multiple times during the game, and he blamed the loss partly on that, but I, personally, blame it on two different things. First, in the first half, the Jets got to Mendenhall in the backfield at least half of the times he recieved the ball, but they were unable to get him down. Mendenhall kept the Jets defense on the field and tired them out allowing a couple of easy touchdowns for the Steelers.
Second, the playcalling by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the time management by Mark Sanchez cost the Jets at least four minutes off the clock. Their fourth quarter drive went for over eight minutes and included 7 rushes, only one of which was for more than 2 yards. I cannot imagine what Schottenheimer was thinking, but that wasted time cost the Jets another drive at the end of the game and another chance to score a touchdown.

But the important thing is that even if the Jets didn't make the super bowl like Rex Ryan promised on "Hard Knocks," they did eliminate the Patriots from the playoffs as well.

I remember thinking the same thing last year, "Mark Sanchez will be better next year and he will lead the Jets to a Superbowl."

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Marchand: 5 Yankees Questions

In his most recent post to ESPNNewYork.com, baseball writer Andrew Marchand answered the following five unanswered Yankee Questions.

1. Who are the 4th and 5th starters?
2. Who is A.J. Burnett?
3. Will Derek Jeter bounce back?
4. The forgotten man, Alex Rodriguez, also is a year older, what does he have?
5. Will Brian Cashman make a move?

Read his answers here.

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Adam Rubin Interview with Terry Collins in Port St. Lucie

Adam Rubin is the Mets reporter for ESPN New York, he joined me on the New York Bite last week to preview the upcoming season. Listen here.

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Citi Field Set to Host MLB All star Game in 2013

I think this is nice for the Mets organization and all of New York, Citi Field is a beautiful ballpark. I think it will be fun to see with the spacious dimensions how many homers will be hit in the Derby. Also, the stadium fits less than 45,000 people, I have to believe that they will find a way to pack more people into the stadium.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Best of New York Bite 1-23: Harvey Araton Interview

New York Times Sports Columnist Harvey Araton joined Chandler Keller from Pittsburg on the New York Bite to break down the AFC Championship matchup.

@BarrettKNOWS

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Which Jets Song is Better?

Both Chunky from 92.3 Now and David Brody the producer of Elvis Duran in the morning made Jets rally songs, which do you think is better? I personally like "The Jets Rule" by David Brody a little bit more.

Chunky's remix of WiZ Khalifa's Black and Yellow




OR


David Brody's remix of Cee Lo Green's "Forget you"

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Does BIG BEN remember this hit?

You have to think this hit could be in Big Bens mind as he drops back in the pocket tonight. I think Bart Scott remembers it to, and wants to do that as many times as he can! The Jets layed back and rushed just four against Manning and Brady, but even then they got their licks, wait till Bart Scott ends seasons tonight at Heinz Field!

@BarrettKNOWS

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