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Report: The Mets truly are flat broke this time

Nov 11, 2012, 7:52 PM EDT

Mayor Bloomberg Makes Announcement With MLB Commissioner Bud Selig And Mets Owner CEO Fred Wilpon Getty Images

That’s what Michael Salfino, a writer for the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Sports has to say:

As Salfino admits, he’s a writer, not a news-breaker. Still, while it’s entirely possible his source is incorrect, this isn’t a case of a writer making something up for publicity.

That said, I still wouldn’t buy the idea that a David Wright extension can’t happen because the Mets have no money. An extension wouldn’t up Wright’s 2013 salary, and having Wright in the fold would likely make the team more attractive to a buyer should the Wilpons be forced to sell.

But let’s assume the report is true. How stubborn must the Wilpons be? The fans want them gone and they could pretty much solve their personal financial problems by selling, yet they’ve been entirely content to drag the team down with them.

Update: Salfino has since deleted the above tweets, though he didn’t disavow the contents of them. Judging by his followup tweets, he put his status as a Wall Street Journal freelancer in jeopardy with his attempt to break some news.

  1. dondada10 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    I just don’t get it. When Tom Hicks went broke in Texas, Bud forced him to sell. But he doesn’t make his buddy, Fred Wilpon, sell.

    • chill1184 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Wilpon was in Selig’s corner when Selig wanted the reigns of power in MLB. So Herr Selig will give Wilpon as much time as he needs

      • dondada10 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:15 PM

        Ultimately, keeping one of the biggest market’s teams afloat has to become the priority.

    • paperlions - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Hicks went bankrupt. Bud didn’t force him to sell so much as he was forced to sell because he had no money….just like he had to sell the Dallas Stars and that soccer team he “owned”.

      The Dodgers was also a different case as the McCourts were threatening to strip the value from the franchise and were also out of money….they had to scramble each month just to pay the players. He also finally declared bankruptcy….but it wasn’t really MLB’s doing….the only hand they had in it was to not approve a new TV deal that was 50 cents on the dollar….they weren’t going to allow McCourt to sell future value so he could maintain control a little longer….only to kill the value of the franchise when he went to sell it because of a substandard TV deal.

      When the Mets get to the point that Hick and McCourt were at….they’ll be forced to sell as well….one way or another.

      • chill1184 - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        Fair enough but Selig and his defenders need to stop peddling the bullshit that they do whats in the best interest of MLB. Wasn’t a few years ago that the Pirates ownership leaked out that they profited from losing? It seems that only in sports (and government) incompetent upper management manages to survive the longest time. If Wilpon and Nutting were workers in a private corporation they would’ve been gone years ago.

  2. chill1184 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Until I hear an actual name and actual evidence of this “source” Salfino is just pulling “statements” out of his ass and is just another case of the NY media trolling.

  3. thebadguyswon - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    If true, good news.

    Extending Wright and Dickey is the wrong move anyway.

  4. richyballgame - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    As much as I’d love to believe that the Coupons will be forced to sell, I think this “source” is wrong.

  5. dfh3456 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Are they going to have to sell Mr Met?

  6. sdelmonte - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I don’t get how they could be that broke, with the cable channel as a source of revenue.

    • paperlions - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      They are very heavily leveraged. Wilpon wasn’t rich, he kind of made his way…but he bought everything with borrowed money….and relied on the Ponzi scheme profits to make it work.

      Collapsed economy, collapsed real estate market, and busted Ponzi scheme = collapsed house of cards.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        Wilpon was rich but he bought the team for nothing compared to what it’s worth today. I’m pretty sure the WIlpons are commercial real estate people primarily, so they’ve been hit hard by the downturn because so much of their wealth was in assets (the Mets, the network, real estate) and they don’t have a lot of liquid. Selling a minority share of the team was supposed to solve their liquidity problem but apparently it was deeper than many realized.

  7. seeingwhatsticks - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Where’s that dude who used to constantly say that the WIlpons were fine and would never have to sell?

  8. roverkarlthecannedham - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Could this be so? I hope it happens. One the most recognizable franchises in professional sports brought low by these jackals. It was indeed encouraging to see The Dodgers rescued from similar jackals by the monied and ambitious group lead by Mr. Johnson. We can but hope that another similar group steps up and rescues the beleaguered Mets. I hope that this new group will be fronted by Larry Bird. Johnson v Bird reboot. Make it so.

    • richyballgame - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      Donald Trump has stated on multiple occasions that he’ll buy the Mets if a majority of the ownership was up for grabs… Whether that’s good or bad,who knows. At least we’ll spend money with him as owner.

      • chill1184 - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        Trump owning a sports team; See the defunct USFL which functioned from 1982 to 1987

        None of the leagues want Trump near them after he brought them down.

      • roverkarlthecannedham - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM

        Donald Trump? That man is an idiot of the first order. I do not pretend that all who own professional sports teams need be geniuses or even good people. But, at a minimum, they should not be Donald Trump. Any word on if he will let Mr. Colbert tea bag him for a million to charity? If he does agree then I will throw my considerable weight in pork behind his ownership of the Mets. And may God Have Mercy On My Canned Soul.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:46 AM

        believing anything DOnald Trump says is an excelllent definition for insanity.

      • stex52 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        I was just trying to imagine what could be worse for MLB baseball in NY and you guys nailed it. Give the team to that fat clown in a toupee with two bankruptcies already in his dossier.

        It can always get worse.

  9. willclarkgameface - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Let’s do this: time to sell the Mets and move them to MONTREAL.

    How about the Montreal Metropolitans?

    Nice ring to it.

    Or you could just call them the Expos again. I’m into it. New Yorkers really don’t even like the Mets anyway.

    • roverkarlthecannedham - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      I have no disagreement with this but it would make Jon Stewart cry. What kind of monster would want to make that happen?

    • dondada10 - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Queens, by itself, would be the 5th biggest city in the U.S. Brooklyn is N.L. territory. Long Island loves the the Mets. Westchester is half Mets, half Yankees.

      What the hell are you talking about?

      • thebadguyswon - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        Montreal will never get a team again. Ever.

      • roverkarlthecannedham - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM

        Are bad guys more prescient than nearsighted pressed pork? If not, then they would be well served to not make unequivocal pronouncements.

      • thebadguyswon - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        Not at all. But I live an hour from Montreal and went to hundreds of games there. The Expos fans blamed MLB for the 94 strike. They always felt they were screwed, and they were. But so were the Indians, Braves, Yankees, Mariners and White Sox. The fans in those other cities came back, the Expos fans didn’t. This is a city that talks hockey in August. Sure they have a baseball history, but they never built a downtown park and that sealed their fate. Hopefully they get a AA or AAA team eventually.

  10. schmedley69 - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Hopefully they still have enough money to extend Bobby Bonilla through the end of the decade.

  11. nghtrder169 - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Trade Wright for Upton —- Simple

  12. jayquintana - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Would it be possible for Wright (or Dickey, for that matter) to sign for a percentage of the team? 7 years for 5% of the team wouldn’t be a bad investment.

    • mazblast - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      IIRC there’s a rule in MLB against active players having equity in a team.

  13. chill1184 - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Another reason to believe that this guy knows jack

  14. cruuuzcontrol - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    In New York City, some no-name guy (even though I know who he is… He writes fantasy columns for Yahoo) is gonna break this news at 8 pm on a Sunday before a national holiday?? Yeah, don’t believe it for a second.

    • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      Why not? The Wilpons have had financial trouble for the last year or two. It became public due to the Madoff settlement but it probably goes back even further than that, and they wouldn’t have sold a share of the team unless they had to. If this news was completely out of nowhere then yeah, I’d question the source a little, but when placed into the context of the last couple of years I don’t really see any reason to think he’s full of it.

      • cruuuzcontrol - Nov 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM

        This is New York, not Cincinnati. There’s a million and one more reputable reporting outlets with a heavy investment in the New York market, all of whom would gnaw off their left arm for a story like this. There’s no way something this big comes through Mike Salfino. And Salfino does (or did) write for the Wall Street Journal… But he’s telling you he’s not a reporter. Heyman, Rosenthal, Verducci, Stark, Klapisch… These guys are infinitely more hooked in than this guy and they would have practically broken their legs running to press for a story like this. They don’t let it fall to no-name Twitter guy. This is Sunday Times stuff… Not Veteran’s Day Twitter scuttlebutt.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 12, 2012 at 4:06 AM

        Heyman, Rosenthal, Verducci, Stark, Klapisch all have relationships to protect. Not only do they have to continue reporting on and dealing with the Mets after the fallout of this, they have to continue working with Bud long after and we know how Bud feels about the WIlpons. Plus, and I say this with all due respect to the writers not named Heyman you’ve listed, this is basically the same group of guys that COMPLETELY whiffed on the entire steroids story until the government started making arrests. In other words, not exactly the most decorated investigative journalists. Their job is to talk about what happens on the field. In a lot of ways they are the public relations arm of MLB. When was the last time any of them broke a story that was potentially damaging to MLB or any of the owners? Beat writers and sports journalists are not real investigative reporters. They don’t investigate anything that might jeopardize their access to information. When the BALCO stuff started breaking it wasn’t any of the beat guys or the national baseball writers that had the story, it was Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, two guys who until that point had nothing to do with sports.

        The Wilpons being in financial trouble is not a new story. All that’s new is the depths of their problems.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 12, 2012 at 5:29 AM

        Heyman, Rosenthal, Verducci, Stark, Klapisch all have relationships to protect. Not only do they have to continue reporting on and dealing with the Mets after the fallout of this, they have to continue working with Bud long after and we know how Bud feels about the WIlpons. Plus, and I say this with all due respect to the writers not named Heyman you’ve listed, this is basically the same group of guys that COMPLETELY whiffed on the entire steroids story until the government started making arrests. In other words, not exactly the most decorated investigative journalists. Their job is to talk about what happens on the field. In a lot of ways they are the public relations arm of MLB. When was the last time any of them broke a story that was potentially damaging to MLB or any of the owners? Beat writers and sports journalists are not real investigative reporters. They don’t investigate anything that might jeopardize their access to information. When the BALCO stuff started breaking it wasn’t any of the beat guys or the national baseball writers that had the story, it was Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, two guys who until that point had nothing to do with sports.

        The Wilpons being in financial trouble is not a new story. All that’s new is the scale of their problems.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 12, 2012 at 5:30 AM

        Sorry for the duplicate reply, my internet connection died mid post and apparently that caused a double.

  15. randygnyc - Nov 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    This is no different than when Bloomberg breaks an Apple/Microsoft story. They aren’t a tech company, but they get financial info that often leads to breaking news. That thenWSJ could have gotten inside info about the finances about a New York City based organization/family is completely plausible. The fact that the Wilpons have suffered monetarily is no secret here. The Madoff debacle muddied the waters between their business organization (a no no) and their personal finances (a bigger no no). The probability that they co mingled funds is extraordinarily high. They will sell the mets before they allow their other businesses/personal wealth to be lost. The fact they attempted to sell shares of the mets speaks volumes about their distress. The only thing preventing them from selling now,IMO, is the local humiliation they’re destined to endure. Ultimately, when they have no alternative between humiliation and total bankruptcy, is when they will acquiesce.

  16. alexb64 - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    For what it’s worth he deleted the tweets.

    • richyballgame - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:47 AM

      Goes to show,he was:
      1. Lying for publicity
      2. Mislead or misinterpreted what was said to him by a source.

  17. randygnyc - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Or the source was powerful enough to make him delete the tweets.

  18. onbucky96 - Nov 12, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Satan Boras feels the Mets don’t care about winning.

  19. paperlions - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Here is what I know about the Wilpon’s finances.

    Every time they have claimed something about their finances or the state of the Mets (e.g. that the Mets finances did not depend whatsoever on their profits from the Ponzi scheme) it has turned out to be untrue (they may not have been lying, they may simply have been honestly wrong or hopeful) and the reports saying there were problems was correct. Not once, not sometimes, every time.

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