Wilpons Still Selling The Mets Is Good And Problematic
The good news is even with the Steve Cohen deal falling through the Wilpons are still going to sell the New York Mets. The day that the Wilpons no longer own the Mets is going to be a very good day. The problem is no one can be sure that is ever going to happen.
No, not even with the Mets retaining Allen & Company to handle the sales process.
The Mets had done the same back in 2011. When that occurred, David Einhorn was identified as a potential buyer. While that deal called for Einhorn having escalating ownership of the team, it was different in that it was possible the Wilpons could still maintain their majority stake in the team.
However, when you look at the deal, one thing jumps right out at you – the Wilpons wanted five years of control.
Those five years of control were part of the problem with Cohen’s purchase of the Mets. As noted in the New York Post‘s article yesterday, the Wilpons fully intended to control the team. That meant their spending Cohen’s money while being the final decision makers. What is all the more incredible is the Wilpons actually sought raises during their five year control period.
In the two deals which fell apart, one of the sticking points was the Wilpons insistence they control the team for five years. Reading into it, it appears the Wilpons wanted a true five year window to be able to operate the Mets like a large market team to show everyone they are actually good at what they do, at least on the roster management side.
You could hope that Allen & Company handling the new sale efforts could act as a hindrance to the Wilpons insistence on that, but that is probably just false hope. After all, Allen & Company handled the Einhorn deal, which had the very same provisions. Moreover, Steve Greenberg is on the Mets board.
Due to Greenberg’s position on the Mets board, he very likely had an input on the sale of the Mets to Cohen. Another consideration here is Greenberg’s position on the Mets board makes him an interested party in these negotiations. While no consultant or head hunter is ever truly neutral, the fact the sale of the Mets has a direct and real impact on Greenberg problematic.
Until a typical outside consultant, the prospective sale of the Mets has a direct impact on Greenberg. That could be a reason why the Wilpons five year control was a factor present in the Einhorn and Cohen deals. Then again, that could just be the Wilpons’ hubris, and no one is talking them out of it.
Putting all of that aside, there is a larger problem.
According to Forbes, Steve Cohen is worth $13.7 billion making him the 35th wealthiest person in America. It is very doubtful the Mets will attract deeper pockets, and even if they eventually do, it’s even more unlikely they are going to come across someone who is as passionate a Mets fan as Cohen is.
That goes double when you consider the Wilpons and MLB are going out of their way to smear Cohen on the way out. Going back to the New York Post article, they are not only saying he negotiated in bad faith, but they are also claiming he would never have been approved and will likely be shut out from buying other MLB teams.
The way the Wilpons have handled this and other sales is going to be a barrier to just who would be willing to purchase the Mets. That is going to severely limit the list of potential buyers, and that assumes there is anyone who wants to give the Wilpons billions of dollars to let them mismanage for five years.
So yes, the Wilpons selling is a good thing. However, we have seen this game before, and twice it did not end well. Mets fans can only hope third time is a charm.