About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

Yanks sign Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract

Looks like our trip in the way-back machine is going to be a crowded one:

[Freddy] Garcia will receive a $1.5 million base salary, if he makes the big-league club. He can also earn $3.6 million in possible incentives, topping out at 30 starts, according to a source. It also lets Garcia opt out by March 29, according to a report.

Late last week, Garcia professed his desire to join the Yanks, (via MLBTR):

“My preference is to be with the New York Yankees, and it’s not unreasonable to have that in mind, because I’ve demonstrated that I can be useful. A team like New York would be ideal for my age, [as would ] playing in a successful, media-heavy, demanding division. Without doubt it would be an inspiration.”

With his low K-rate and high HR-rate, he doesn’t profile into exactly what might be successful in Yankee Stadium, but for the cost, it’s worth a shot.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Yanks sign Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract

Rob Neyer to leave ESPN

“Neyer joined ESPN.com in 1996, and since then he’s written more words for this site than anybody.”

– Neyer’s ESPN.com bio

The news is finally out: Rob Neyer is ending his 15 year run at ESPN:

Today, I hand off this space to whoever’s next. I don’t know yet who is next, but I’m highly confident that this blog and the SweetSpot Network will soon be in excellent hands.

I’ve known about this move for about a week or so now and despite this, I am still a bit slackjawed. Like most of you, I began reading Rob daily back when he started with ESPN so many years ago. I’ve pretty much read everything he’s written. I, and others, haven’t always agreed with everything, but say this about the man: he’s fair and he’s thoughtful.

Rob was among the first, if not the first, to bring sports blogging into the mainstream. For that, we should all be grateful for his contributions to the MLB community. I know I am.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Rob Neyer to leave ESPN

Selig: A picture of “blissful neglect”?

Phil Mushick ordered and executed the Code Red on Bud Selig today:

After all, why would the solvency and business methods of the owners of the New York Mets be any of Selig’s business? He’s only the commissioner. Why would he even care to know, let alone ask?

Selig long ago made it clear his stewardship is based on not knowing, on ignoring and not examining, on blissful neglect, thus everyone, players and owners, should get out there and grab everything they can. […]

So what a shock it must still be to Selig that all those guys who suddenly began to hit 50, 60, 70 home runs were on drugs.

But what’s up with the Wilpons and the Mets? Hey, one thing at a time.


For all of the Wilpon-related mess, click here. Continue reading Selig: A picture of “blissful neglect”?

The Wilpons: Not newbies on this Ponzi scheme fraud thing

The hits just keep on coming for the Wilpons and while you might think I am enjoying this, subtly or less-than-subtly, it’s just so ugly for the game and that’s not a good thing:

For Wilpon and Katz, the episode did not garner anywhere near the public attention their entanglements with Madoff have, but there are striking similarities. Indeed, a review of court records and interviews suggests the debacle with Israel’s hedge fund, Bayou, was a painful precursor to the Madoff case.

The firm Wilpon and Katz started, Sterling Stamos, was accused of having withdrawn money from a fund run by Bayou after detecting evidence of possible fraudulent activity. The firm took out nearly all of its $30 million from the fund months before it collapsed.

And the eventual tie-in to the Madoff case:

According to two lawyers involved in the case against the Mets, the trustee, Irving H. Picard, argued in a lawsuit filed in December that the history of Wilpon and Katz’s dealings with Madoff meant they knew or should have known it might be a scheme, and that, as a result, other victims were entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars above and beyond what Wilpon and Katz might have made as profits. “Some of the legal principles adopted in Bayou are the same ones that the trustee is applying,” said Richard Kirby, the lead lawyer for the creditors committee in the Bayou case.

In other words, Picard is using the age-old “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” mantra. Except the Wilpons got fooled twice. Continue reading The Wilpons: Not newbies on this Ponzi scheme fraud thing

Wilpon’s insistence on selling only a non-controlling interest is going to be tested

Remember that whole “intend to maintain the majority, controlling interest” thing about the Wilpon’s selling a stake of the Metsies? I reserve the right to be entirely surprised, but it looks like the list of interested parties is growing but not for that minority interest that the Wilpon’s want to sell:

The son of the late civil-rights leader is uniting with some heavy hitters, including Mets legend Ed Kranepool; entrepreneur Donn Clendenon Jr., son of the 1969 Mets World Series MVP; TV executive Larry Meli; and a number of unnamed deep-pocketed investors, The Post has learned.[…]

King declined to comment on the particulars, but Meli said he and his group are looking to purchase at least 50 percent of the club. That could be a roadblock, but Meli said he hopes the two sides can work together.

“I think in order for it to make sense it would have to be at least a 50-50 arrangement,” said Meli, a trusted friend of King.

In other words: Without control in the operations of the Mets organization (either initially or attainable in the future), the list of financial life preservers will be limited. I contend that if the Wilpon’s truly need the liquidity to resolve the pending lawsuits, they will have very little choice but to sell more than they’d like.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Wilpon’s insistence on selling only a non-controlling interest is going to be tested

Wilpons’ integrity in question?

Some very interesting info coming out of Murray Chass today and as I have said before, so long as it’s baseball-related story-telling, Chass is still a good read:

The Picard lawsuit is critical. Not only is Picard seeking hundreds of millions of dollars, but according to the Times report, he has also alleged that Wilpon knew or should have known that Madoff was running a crooked scam. That’s why the trustee seeks many millions more than the $571 million he said the Wilpon companies withdrew.

“The really troublesome thing for Wilpon is Picard alleges that Wilpon knew or should have known,” the lawyer said. “That goes to Wilpon’s integrity and reputation. Wilpon is very vulnerable. He can’t let that suit go forward because the risk that he was culpable is too great.

“Picard has Wilpon by the tail and Wilpon knows it. Picard knows Wilpon can’t run the risk of a jury or a court decision against him.”

As we said last week, it’s going to be very difficult for Wilpon to have his cake and eat it too, meaning raising a significant amount of money AND still maintain control.

(click “view full post” to view more) Continue reading Wilpons’ integrity in question?

“Better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now”

Hype or hope, I’m not sure. No matter what, there are some great quotes from Brian Cashman about the farm system in this interview. Let’s take the headliner first, about Jesus Montero:

Hard work can close the gap on deficiencies. Derek Jeter made 56 errors in the South Atlantic League. … The minor leagues is (where you) work out your problems, and he’s certainly closing the gap. He’s not there yet, but he’s pretty damn close. We believe he’s better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now.

There are various reports about Montero’s defensive skills that range from poor to slightly better than average. He might not be the next Pudge behind the plate, but he sure can hit.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading “Better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now”

Levine: “Chuck’s delusional”

I do more than my fair share of Randy Levine bashing. Most of the time, I’d like to think it’s warranted. Today, however, is not a bashing. This is hilarious:

Chuck’s delusional. He’s been in the game for a few minutes and yet he thinks he knows what everyone’s thinkingI think he should let Cliff Lee speak for himself. (Greenberg) would really impress us when he keeps the Rangers off of welfare and keeps them from receiving revenue sharing the next three years.”

SMACK! Continue reading Levine: “Chuck’s delusional”

About the Mets sale: Yeah, Will nailed it

Our own Will was right on top of this Mets stuff back in October 2009, calling it deftly:

This entire phenomen is referred to as claw back, and I’m uncertain as to how long the lookback will be (though it’ll be somewhere between the Bayou-suggested 2 years, and the maximum of 6). However, it’s very likely that Sterling will end up trading the $570.6 million that they withdrew from Madoff for some appreciably smaller number. Given the size of the Madoff scheme (and the length of time it went on for) that number will probably be significantly lower than the 33% returned in the Bayou case.

For Mets’ fans hoping to see big name (and big money) acquisitions this offseason, to help make baseball’s second most expensive team competitive again, don’t hold your breath. For those of you hoping the Wilpons’ will have to sell (paving the way for someone not named Omar Minaya to take the reins), well, it may be a good year.

Nicely done, Will.

For the initial Wilpon/Mets stuff, click here. Continue reading About the Mets sale: Yeah, Will nailed it