I’ve never been the guy to rant and rave about the Wilpons and how they should sell the team and that they are killing the Mets. I don’t even mind right now that they let Jose Reyes walk and that they are re-building, even though the front office won’t admit to it. But there is a difference between not having a lot of money, and having no money. And on top of that, they are trying to make it through the Madoff lawsuit and the team lost a reported $70M from the 2011 season.

I understand why the Wilpons are hesitant to sell the team. Fred Wilpon has owned a percentage of the team since 1980 and 100% of the team since 2002. He obviously has strong ties to the Mets organization and doesn’t want to give up on it so easily.

On Monday, the Mets had to take out an additional $40M bank loan in order to raise money to sell minority shares of the team. They are so broke they have to take out a loan just so they can sell off ownership of the team. In addition to this $40M, the Mets still haven’t paid back the $25M loan they received from Major League Baseball. That’s a lot of backed up money, and it makes one think even if the Mets can sell off shares of the team, would it be enough to actually make some money and take them out of the red.

The banks won’t be as nice as the MLB when they start asking for the Mets back. Baseball officials believe this is the last of the loans the Wilpons will be able to get. However, Bud Selig won’t force the Wilpons to sell the Mets because he believes that they will bounce back from this, and put everything they have back into the Mets. So if they are going to sell, it has to be a decision made by the Wilpons.

The Wilpon’s plan is that they will sell 10 minority shares for $20M each. The issue with this is trying to find 10 people who are willing to throw $20M into a broke team, and not have control over anything the team does.

Now, it’s not like people won’t have an interest in the Mets. They are an amazing investment opportunity financial and if the Wilpons wanted to sell 100% of the team there would be a line forming outside the gates of Citi Field. They have a brand new stadium, a very wealthy broadcasting station, perfect location, and amazing fans. In March, Forbes magazine said that club is worth an estimated $747M. If the Wilpons wanted to sell this team completely, they would have no problem finding a buyer.

It comes down to them just realizing it’s time to let go and move on. They are completely handcuffing the team right now to the point where they can barely do anything. Their payroll is going to drop from $143M in 2011 to most likely under $100M in 2012.

So it’s time Fred and Jeff. I know this is a hard realization to come to, but you’re in no position to handle a major league baseball team financially right now. Sell now, so the team you love has a chance to compete in the future.

12 comments on “The Wilpons need to let go

  • Mike Koehler

    At the very least, the whole situation has to leave fans curious about their finances/debt.

  • APV

    I’ll reiterate what I said last month Fred. This is an ultimatum: Sell the team by the time the anniversary of Reyes’ departure occurs or I’m gone. And trust me, there are many more Met fans who plan to be ex-Met fans by that time. And I’m not talking about people who started rooting for the team in 2006 either.

    • Mike Koehler

      Honestly, I thought about jumping ship too once Reyes left. But the more I thought about it, the more it doesn’t make sense.

      Sandy Alderson has lost my support with his small-market, forever rebuilding mentality, and the Wilpons apparently don’t currently have the money to run a team. But the mets are still the mets, no matter who is involved behind the scenes. There’s a reason why I held on to my fandom as a child in the early 90s. It’s not completely unlike the POTUS: You may not like who’s sitting in the Oval Office, but the White House and the position are a separate entity and demand some level of respect.

      • Brandon Lee

        Well no GM doesn’t want to spend money. It’s not like Alderson wanted to pass on all these good players and cut the payroll by $60M. Blame can’t be given the blame because the owners literally have no money to spend.

    • Bus

      What are you waiting for? I’d be much happier if you left now, and stayed away.

  • Steve S.

    Here’s my HOPE: the Wilpons will be forced to sell in 2012, due to huge debts and repayments, failure to really find the suckers to buy small parts of the team, and the ponzi trial by jury. And by this time next year, we’ll be looking at a new, deep-pockets owner, who will sink money into the Mets, so we’ll have more than a crippled, crappy starting rotation, terrible catchers, etc. With some good arms coming up, we’ll be a NL powerhouse forever more!

    • Brandon Lee

      That is what I’m hoping too, but I don’t think it will happen this season. Feel like the Wilpons will successfully sell off shares of the team and delay the entire selling of the team. But I think it will eventually happen, and when it does happen the Mets should have a lot of their young prospects up and then they can complete holes in the roster with free-agents.

  • Metsense

    I have been a fan for 49 years, lived through Joan Payson and M Donald Grant, and am totally frustrated with the Wilpon’s. How can they not be making money with their own SNY contract, a three year old stadium, and playing in the premier city in the world. They have mismanaged this team from payroll to public relations to poor front office management. To cut the payroll 30% is ludicrous. If they would have cut the payroll 10% each year for the next few years, at least they could be trading or re stocking with better players and have a better chance of playing meaningful ball in September. The team obviously has no money and the Wilpon’s are alienating their fan base. The right thing to do is sell the team, take their profit, and the new owners bring in an infusion of capital. The Wilpon’s win, the fans win and baseball wins.

    • Brandon Lee

      The thing is I think it’s actually a good time for the ownership to run out of money. Gives the Mets a reason to start rebuilding and move past Reyes and Wright. The Mets have not been winning with them and it’s time to move in a new direction.
      So hopefully there will be new owners soon, their prospects will come up, and Paul DePodesta will take over as GM and the Mets can get a clean start and try to do it right this time.

  • Bus

    Yeah, that sounds nice and all but a rich owner isn’t going to come with the ability to produce catchers out of nothing. The rebuilding process will still need to be done but it will go a lot quicker and easier with the $$ the Wilpons are completely unwilling to lend.

    • Brandon Lee

      I don’t think their unwilling to lend, they just have nothing to lend…

  • […] http://mets360.com/?p=8729 – I think this article reflects how a lot of Mets fans feel about the Wilpons and the ownership situation. […]

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