There are some things that, once you see/read/hear them, you instantly know every other alternative has been considered and there’s no other alternative. The sick entering hospice care. The Angels trading for Vernon Wells. Ever since the Madoff news broke, the Wilpon’s claimed the Mets organization was largely unaffected by the scam. And now, the Mets are hiring investment bankers as they are pursuing minority investors, aka “strategic partners”:
The Wilpon family, stung by losses and litigation stemming from convicted swindler Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, is considering selling a minority stake in the the New York Mets to infuse cash into the organization.
Principal owner Fred Wilpon and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon announced Friday they had hired Steve Greenberg, managing director of Allen & Company, to explore “potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners.”
Color me concerned. And here’s what made me chuckle:
The Wilpons added that regardless of the outcome, they intend to maintain the majority, controlling interest in the Mets.
Let’s get one thing straight: The Metsies might want to keep the team, or rather control of the team, but if there’s a person/group out there with the resources, you can be sure that they will make a run at outright ownership of the organization. Selling a minority interest, say 30-40%, will require more than $250 million dollars, according to Forbes valuations (via BoB). I am not sure how many singular groups will have an interest in forking over that much cash without control. Now, if the Wilpon’s are considering cutting this into bite-sized pieces (<5% each), maybe there are enough people interested. There will be more to come, to be sure.
[Note: HBT has the full PR here]
In Jon Heyman’s latest column, he basically reiterates what we’ve been hearing for the last few weeks with regards to Andy Pettitte. Still no official word, but given that Andy’s been working out, he has his family’s blessing and — unless you’re Gil Meche — leaving $12-$13 million on the table is relatively unheard of, [...]
Yesterday, RAB provided a statement about our YES censorship story. Steve Goldman of Pinstriped Bible just did the same: In all that time, I have never been asked to alter the tone or substance of my commentary. The day that happens is the day we part company, though I don’t expect such a thing to [...]
The reaction among some Yankees fans to the Bartolo Colon signing was odd. A fairly sizable portion of the fanbase took issue with the signing, suggesting that bringing in retreads like Colon is embarrassing for the franchise and should be avoided. I’ve ranted about this on Twitter before, but one comment from @Heartbeatbronx struck me [...]
When reading these comments, it is important to remember that Hal has every reason to say what he did. The franchise does not benefit from the perception of internal unrest. Hal’s comments are meant to smooth over what has been seen as a rough patch for the organization. Continued silence would only lead to further speculation. In that way, Hal did a good job of quieting doubters and maintaining an image of solidarity in the front office. But I’m not convinced he actually means it. Nor am I convinced that he doesn’t mean it.
This is merely the media’s nature. Sometimes we get exclusive information. Other times we get a long PR spiel. This was certainly the latter. It is nice to hear the owner of the team backing up his GM, but to take this at face value is a mistake. After all, how often do we see a GM or owner give a public vote of confidence to an employee, only to fire him within days? I do hope that Hal is sincere in his words, but experience studying the media tells me to take his comments lightly.
It’s a good point worth keeping in mind any time you see a considered message put out in the media, frankly. I’m not sure that the “vote of confidence” comparison is perfect though, given that the “dreaded vote of confidence” usually refers to teams that are struggling to various degrees, and it’s worth taking a second to remember that the Yankees are by no means struggling, and that, so far, Hal Steinbrenner is proving to be an able, sober owner. That may sound a bit matter-of-fact, but I do think we’re forgetting that in the weeds a little bit this past month or so, so let’s take a second to back away and look at the new ownership’s track record from 10,000 feet.
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On the heels of MLB.com’s top prospect list, Keith Law recently released his own Top 50 prospects list (unfortunately it’s behind ESPN’s silly pay wall), and it’s even more favorable to the Yankees than MLB.com’s was. This is good news, as Law is a notoriously hard grader. From LoHud: “Law lists Jesus Montero at No. [...]
Chad Jennings had an article chock full of quotes from Brian Cashman yesterday and those quotes furthered the patience mantra we’ve been hearing all season. Though the Yankee general manager called the team “an unfinished product”, he didn’t indicate that he was going to make any hasty moves. • Cashman’s quick, to-the-point evaluation of his [...]
“[Cashman] and I have a great working relationship. There is no problem, right now. I think we have had a bunch of drummed-up drama.”
This is both comforting and reassuring.
“I value his opinion and his advice. That does not mean I am always going to go with that advice and all of my VPs know that I might go a different way. There are no hard feelings between Cash and I. There never was. Reasonable men can differ in opinions.
“I keep reading about dissension and discord. We are a well-functioning company. The bosses have a decision to make. Sometimes people don’t agree with those decisions. So I told him, ‘You are always honest with the media, be honest now. Tell them what you have to tell them.’ I was already onto the next decision. I told him, ‘You and I are fine. Answer in any way you want.’ We are not always going to be on the same page. It is my job to think what is best for the family, partners and company.”
There’s a part of this that makes me think about the moment when your significant other asks you if she looks fat in those jeans and the concept of honesty is somehow twisted a bit. I am sure Hal encouraged Cashman to continue to be honest, but perhaps wasn’t expecting this level of honesty. Either way, perhaps we can put this behind us now.