Michael O’Keefe of the Daily News reported that the upcoming edition of Sports Illustrated will feature more comments from Mets owner Fred Wilpon, this time elaborating on some of the issues he is dealing with regarding the sale of the team and the clawback lawsuit.
In the SI article, Wilpon reportedly admits that if he loses the lawsuit filed by trustee Irving Picard, he will be forced to sell all of his stake in the team. He also says that the Mets are ‘bleeding cash’ and could lose as much as $70 million this season.
Wilpon confirms reports that he does have at least one unnamed buyer, and that if he wants to he “could reach an agreement to sell a minority stake in the team for $200 million within three weeks.”
The News article mentions that the money from such a sale has already been earmarked according to Fred.
Wilpon said the cash infusion has already been earmarked. Major League Baseball will receive $25 million in repayment of an emergency loan it extended to the Mets last fall, while $75 million will be used to pay down the $427 million in team debt. The remaining $100 million will be used for operating costs.
Even if the financials break down as reported, one would think the $100 million dollars being earmarked for operating costs will go toward the projected $70 million dollars in losses this season, and any additional losses next season. Basically, the way I see it, this will keep them afloat for two years, and that is assuming they don’t lose the lawsuit.
By the end of those two seasons, the Wilpons better have figured out a plan to make the Mets profitable again, otherwise he will find himself back in this same exact situation in 2013. They have to stop the bleeding, or else.
Considering all of that, I don’t see how they won’t slash payroll by half of that $50 million dollars in flexibility they are expected to gain in 2012. That would mean a payroll that may not even top $100 million next season.
Of course that will mean no Jose Reyes because at least $15 million of that wiggle room will go toward escalating salaries via raises and higher arbitration awards.
I could be wrong, and this is purely all speculation on my part, but you don’t really have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the math. And the numbers still don’t look so good, even if they complete the sale and get that $200 million dollars in their hands.