New York Mets: Fred Wilpon

FanSpeak: On the Wilpon/Madoff settlement

March, 20, 2012

On Monday, Mets co-majority owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz settled with the government in their long-running Bernie Madoff fraud lawsuit. This has been portrayed as a win for Mets ownership, but is it good for the fans?

From Mets end Madoff mess with a win:

"This is bad news for Met fans. The best thing that can happen right now is anything that gets the Wilpons out. As long as they own the team, it will take years to dig out of this mess."
- Suzyanne33

Ed.'s note -- You're not alone in that estimation.

From Mets, Madoff trustee settle for $162M:

"Fredo Wilpon screwed tens of thousands of people out of their life savings

"It really didn't matter if he was in on it or just INCOMPETENT"
- NYC2255

Ed.'s note -- It makes an enormous difference. Legally, it is the difference between guilt and innocence, and morally it would make a huge difference as well. The Fredo reference conjures the collective voice of Mets fans saying, "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.".

"Nope true Met fans will not go to any Met games because that is the only way the owners will lose the team. If you don't spend the crazy amount of money that is going to go into the pockets of the Wilpons they will go broke and then they will have to sell the team which will be the greatest day in Mets history. It would be better then winning the World Series."
- Victor-Cruz-Salsa-Instructor

Ed.'s note -- This is how it is now? Wilpon selling the team would rank above the 1986 season AND the 1969 Miracle Mets?

"As bad as this Braves fan has always hated the Mets (Phillies as well) I hate this for the Mets organization."
- Sambo8964

Ed.'s note -- You know things are bad when Braves fans are rooting for you.

From Mets settlement open thread:

"I'm very happy for the Wilpons.

"It's just too bad that part of the fan base are committed to never stepping foot again inside Citi Field when the team turns it around. If these fans are honorable people, they will keep their word and never come back. Citi Field will fill without them, that's inevitable, that's the cycle of baseball....winning fills seats.

"There's just a subset of Mets fans who are committed to destroying the team. I personally don't consider any of these people to be fans, that's sort of like the good husband whose agenda also includes beating his wife. Just my opinion."
- AmLongTimeFan

Ed.'s note -- If fans feel their hard-earned money is going to a man they hate, then they should probably stay home.

"they wilpons just played like they were broke so fans would accept the payroll cut a lil easier. They still have a very profitable network in SNY. MLB knows this, and that's why they haven't stepped in, while in fact giving them an extension on that loan. Also, lets not forget that CITI Corp. still pays 20 mill a year for the next 17 years. Broke? 160 million use to be 1 yr of payroll.

"2 yrs from now we'll be buyers again. just a cycle. like bobby bonilla in '93 . still paying that dude too. lol"
- bronxborn718

Ed.'s note -- Finally, someone thinks the Mets will bounce back!

Mets fans have spoken!

W2W4: Greece vs. Ecuador at Citi Field

June, 7, 2011
Citi Field is now on friendly terms with the beautiful game.

The home of the New York Mets will become the home-away-from-home for the Ecuadorian and Greek National Teams on Tuesday evening as the two sides face off in an international friendly. This represents the first professional soccer match held in Flushing since Colombia and Czechoslovakia finished with a 0-0 draw at Shea Stadium in August 2003.

Ranked 64th in the world by FIFA, Ecuador is preparing for its their upcoming participation in the Copa America tournament later this summer. Monterrey defender and Ecuador team captain Walter Ayoví leads a largely domestic squad that also features Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia and Toronto FC forward Joao Plata.

Greece will look to follow up a successful effort in a 3-1 win over Malta last Saturday in a Euro 2012 qualifier. The Galanolefki benefitted from a youth movement against Malta, with Olympiacos midfielder Giannis Fetfatzidis -- who is commonly referred to as the Greek Lionel Messi -- and Schalke 04 defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos finishing strikes from an attack that favored the right wing.

First kick is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Rectancular Peg in a Diamond Hole. FIFA does not set one standard for pitch size in international competition, but the dimensions typically run at about 110 yards across and 70 yards wide.

In order to accommodate those dimensions in the peculiar layout of Citi Field, the groundskeepers commenced preparations on the pitch at 3 a.m. Monday with one goal placed near third base and the other in deep right field -- presumably in or near the divot carved out of the right field wall in front of the Mo's Zone seating area. To complete the playing area, two-thirds of the infield will be covered in sod.

That layout should lessen the disruption to the baseball diamond, which was a rule of thumb the Mets may have learned the hard way. The Mets dismantled the mound following the 1996 season in order to accommodate an offseason friendly between Colombia and Honduras. When they replaced the mound for the 1997 season, they rebuilt it too high in a gaffe that may have disrupted Mark Clark's performance in the Mets' home opener.

So if Jose Reyes' defense begins to suffer at home when the Mets return on June 17, take a long look at the new dirt under his feet.

Hosts with the Most (to Gain). While Shea Stadium's soccer roots stretch back to a nine-team club tournament in 1965 and once provided a pitch to Pelé and the New York Cosmos, Fred Wilpon picked up the pace in the 1990s as he opened negotiations to either renovate or replace Shea in earnest. Shea Stadium became a potential soccer site as part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics as well as a potential new or temporary home for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls).

MLS has made no secret of their discussions about a potential expansion side being awarded to the Wilpons. Meanwhile, Dave Howard, Mets Vice President of Business Operations, told the NY Daily News in May that he expects Citi Field to host another soccer match later this summer.

Ecuador and Greece will cater to a hungry fan base, but the Wilpons' larger designs for the future of soccer in Queens should kick off on Tuesday as well.

Are You Ready For Some Futbol? A Mets press release issued on Monday outlawed the use of fireworks, which are a common sight at Greek soccer matches. However, it said nothing of the drums, banners, noisemakers, streamers, and flags that both Greek and Ecuadorian supporters call up to support their national side.

Queens boasts a large Ecuadorian population and the largest Greek community this side of the Atlantic Ocean. They may attend the match in a venue designed for baseball, but the supporters should create a very different and energetic atmosphere.

Rule 21 is Greek to Them. Last weekend, the Greek FA indefinitely suspended all activities due to allegations of gambling and match-fixing. Greece has struggled with match-fixing bookies and ongoing fan violence that cripples the in-game action if not corrupting it outright. The referees may execute their duties on Tuesday under a bigger spotlight in light of Greece's latest troubles, as the stakes could be much higher than the empanadas and baklava being wagered by local politicians.

Source: Einhorn has shot to own majority

May, 27, 2011
David Einhorn, who has been selected to join the New York Mets ownership group as a minority partner, has a path to majority ownership, a source familiar with the still-not-finalized terms told Einhorn has agreed in principal to purchase roughly 33 percent of the team for $200 million, which will infuse cash and keep the organization solvent in the immediate future. He can try to become majority owner in three years.

Read the full story here

Mets morning briefing 5.25.11

May, 25, 2011
Unless Fred Wilpon did give additional interviews that have yet to surface, it seems the Mets' less-than-effective PR campaign has ended and it's back to baseball. Of course, since climbing to .500 on Friday with a win in the Subway Series opener, the Mets have now lost three straight, including 11-1 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. It was the most lopsided loss to the Cubs since Tom Glavine and Art Howe's debuts with the organization at frigid Shea Stadium on March 31, 2003. That game was 15-2.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Wilpon apologized by speakerphone to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes in the visiting manager's office at Wrigley Field. The owner decided coming to the Windy City would create too much of a circus (although having dinner with the team here on the off-day might have been a nice gesture -- or at least a gathering at the hotel, away from the media.) Read coverage of Tuesday's twists and turns in the saga in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal, Times and Newsday.

• Beltran told the Post's Mike Puma he was particularly disappointed by Wilpon's comments about David Wright. "To me, David is a superstar. I feel badly for him." Reyes, on the phone conversation with Wilpon, told Puma: "[Wilpon] asked us how we were feeling about the whole situation, if the comments were bothering us. We understand there is a lot of frustration in the organization. We just need to move on. He can say whatever he wants to -- he’s the boss and we are the employees here. All we can do is continue to play.”

Steve Popper in the Record notes how much Beltran has been through with the Mets, from the public squabble over whether he had permission to have knee surgery in January 2009, to last year's outing as having not attended a voluntary team trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. (Beltran had said he was conducting business for the high school he was starting, but no explanation should have been necessary.) Writes Popper:

Asked if he felt appreciated for his efforts, [Beltran] said, “You know what? For my teammates, I have to say yes. For other people, I don’t know. But I care about what my teammates think about me.” A question was posed to Beltran: If he knew then what he knows now, would he have taken the seven-year, $119 million deal to come to New York? “I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “I feel like it’s been years through a lot of ups and downs. But at the same time, it has been years where we have done good, we have done bad, and all that can add is experience to my life.”

• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wonders if Wilpon really is the good man he often is portrayed to be. Writes Vaccaro:

Anyone who ever read or saw “Bright Lights, Big City” knows the New Yorker’s fact-checkers are relentless and precise; before this piece went to press -- by which point his team had rebounded to respectability -- these quotes were read back to him. And Fred Wilpon, good man, channeled Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee: “Run that, baby.” Would a good man treat his own fans as human spittoons? That’s even more egregious in a lot of ways than knee-capping his millionaire employees, two of whom were classy yesterday in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, one of whom, Reyes, shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and said, “He’s the boss. He can say whatever he wants to say.” No. When Wilpon described the Mets as, um, “sh***y,” what he did was admit what we’ve long suspected: that he plays his own fans for suckers, chumps, rubes, that he believes they drive to work on the same turnip truck he so vehemently wants us to believe he rides in on.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff portrays Sandy Alderson's postgame comments as an island of competence in a tumultuous Mets world. Writes Davidoff:

Alderson was prepared to deal with Fred Wilpon's apology to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran regarding Wilpon's comments to The New Yorker. He wasn't as prepared to deal with Wilpon's comments to Sports Illustrated, which regarded the Mets' bleak financial outlook. So you could see Alderson's polite exasperation -- not at the media's question, but rather at the entirety of the situation, IMO -- as he tried to put the matter to rest for the night. "Look, I haven't read Sports Illustrated, I haven't read Mechanics Illustrated (which doesn't exist), or Men's Health," Alderson said. "I don't know what stories are out there, so until I've read those stories, I can't comment." The subtext of Alderson's comments was clear, at least to me: "Can you believe how dumb these people are? I can't."

• Of course, the bigger news for the organization is Wilpon suggesting the payroll could dip under $100 million next year. Alderson said that would be news to him.

Richard Sandomir of the Times reviews some of the financial numbers.

Jason Bay was pulled from Tuesday's game in the seventh inning with a tight right calf, but minimized the issue. Bay said he alerted staff before the game of the issue, and was perfectly content playing with it. But when the game got lopsided, Terry Collins pulled him.

Also on the injury front: Alderson indicated nothing notable came from Wright's visit to a back specialist in Los Angeles other than to script a rehab plan. Angel Pagan should play on Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo, then be activated from the disabled list the following day. And Johan Santana threw 25 pitches off the top of a mound on Monday. Collins said Ike Davis (ankle) is doing baseball activities, but not cutting. Alderson said: "Ike felt good [Monday], not so good [Tuesday]." Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times and Record.

• Read game stories from the 11-1 loss in Newsday, the Post, Daily News, Times and Record (via AP).

Lenny Dykstra sneaked on the set of Celebrity Apprentice, worried Dr. Drew was hypnotizing Dwight Gooden, according to the Daily News.

Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal looks at the lives of the yet-to-establish-themselves players on the major league roster who live in hotels rather than sign leases, such as Dillon Gee. Writes Costa:

Many of Gee's belongings, including his car, remain in Buffalo, home of the Mets' Triple-A team. The car he drives now belongs to pitcher D.J. Carrasco, who began the season in the majors but was demoted to Buffalo in April. The contrast between players like Gee and the Mets' marquee players is striking. During a road trip earlier this month, Carlos Beltran walked into the clubhouse carrying a shopping bag from Louis Vuitton. Gee went to a mall in Denver because he was out of clean underwear. "A lot of times during the season, you find yourself wearing the same thing," said reliever Pat Misch, who began the season in Buffalo.

BIRTHDAYS: Chris Young (32), who is now recovering from shoulder surgery, and Scott Hairston (31) each celebrate birthdays. ... '62 Met Jim Marshall was born in 1931. Marshall may have been too good for that 40-120 team. In 32 at-bats before being traded to the Pirates in May, he hit .344 with three homers. The Mets were 2-15 when he played, though. Marshall’s .344 batting average is third-highest in Mets history for anyone who had at least 30 at-bats with the team, behind Bob Johnson (.348, 1967) and Shawon Dunston (.344, 1999). -Mark Simon

Alderson on wrong-said Fred, injuries

May, 24, 2011
Here's what Sandy Alderson had to say postgame about Fred Wilpon's comments, as well as injuries updates ...

On The New Yorker article: "I think everyone was surprised by the comments. But there's nobody who is more passionate about the Mets, has more empathy for the players, than Fred. I think that we all get caught up in the emotion from time to time and perhaps say some things that on reflection probably were not well chosen. But I know he's reached out to the players involved and has talked to most, if not all of them, at this point. It's time for us to move on."

With respect to payroll, you indicated as early as the winter meetings that it would go down some. Would the Sports Illustrated figure Wilpon cited -- $100 million or less -- be lower than you anticipated? "Are we talking about The New Yorker article? Look, I haven't read Sports Illustrated. I haven't read Mechanics Illustrated. Men's Health. I don't know what stories may be out there. Until I've read those stories, I can't comment."

Let's ask it this way: Are you comfortable or aware the payroll could be at that $100 million level? "No."

That would go beyond what your initial expectation was? "Look, as I said, I haven't read the Sports Illustrated article. I wouldn't overreact to what might be contained in that article. Let's focus on getting past the New Yorker article."

Have you spoken with the players? "I expect to talk with him. I have not at this point. I think the fact that two principals of ownership have done that is probably the right direction to take. I'm here."

If other teams interpret the comments as you're not going to re-sign Jose Reyes, doesn't that affect your leverage at the trading deadline? "I wouldn't read too much into the article that hasn't already been read into the article. I don't think anything is pre-judged. There's no way for us to predict what will or will not happen with respect to Jose or anybody else. So let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."

Did David Wright see the back specialist in L.A.? "Yes, he did see the back specialist. I believe he saw Dr. Watkins yesterday. He may have had an appointment with a physical therapist in Los Angeles today just to go over the Watkins PT formula. I do expect that he'll be on his way back to New York shortly. There was nothing as a result of either the consultation or, as far as I know, the PT appointment that changed anything as far as his diagnosis or the expectations about him coming back."

Any established timetable? "No. I think what certainly I've learned over the last couple of months is that we need to get guys back running, doing some baseball activity, before we can actually lay out a timetable. But at this point nothing has changed from the original prognosis -- rest for 10 days or so and we'll see where we are. ... There's nothing so far that suggests he will be out longer than we originally anticipated. Now will it just be the two weeks? I don't know. But certainly the doctors have been consistent in saying that this injury is on the way to healing. And it ought to heal. And he ought to be back in relatively short order."

On Johan Santana, who threw 25 pitches off the top of the mound Monday: "He did throw some pitches off a mound. So I hesitate to say that we're on our way, but that was a good sign."

On Ike Davis (ankle): "Ike was OK today. Ike felt good yesterday, not so good today. He's able to come off on the 26th, which is -- what -- Thursday? That's not going to happen. So we'll see where we are at that point."

Wilpon: Payroll may drop 30 percent

May, 24, 2011
Not only is Jose Reyes probably outta here, the Mets won't be reinvesting the money. Fred Wilpon acknowledged to Sports Illustrated that the payroll could go down about 30 percent next offseason.

If the Mets' payroll is roughly $140 million this year, that means $98 million next year. And if $65 million comes off with Reyes' departure and because Francisco Rodriguez doesn't vest, only about $23 million gets put back in next offseason -- with the need for a shortstop and a closer. And that's not even taking into account raises to other players.

"That's fair," Wilpon told the magazine. "If you invest your $100 million properly, as most clubs that are competitive are in that range . . . I think that we have to see what Sandy [Alderson, the general manager] wants to do, and Sandy wants flexibility. And I'm trying to give him the ultimate amount of flexibility. He's going to have to make those decisions . . . The answer to your question is yeah, that could happen."

Also in the SI article, regarding a sale of a minority share ...

Wilpon says the $200 million cash infusion already has been earmarked: $25 million to pay off an emergency loan that Major League Baseball extended last November, $75 million to pay down $427 million in debt the Mets are carrying ($375 million to banks and another $52 million to MLB, which extends low-interest loans of that size as a matter of course to all clubs) and $100 million toward operating costs. Wilpon says the Mets “are bleeding cash” and acknowledges that they stand to lose as much as $70 million this year.

Mets morning briefing 5.24.11

May, 24, 2011
Fred Wilpon kept the off-day lively. Now, it's back to baseball, with the Mets in the Windy City and Jon Niese opposing Ryan Dempster in the opener.

Tuesday's news reports:

Predictably, the coverage is near-exclusively Wilpon-related ...

• Columnist Joel Sherman writes for the Post:

If you cover the Mets with any regularity, you quickly become familiar with just what a tin ear the entire organization has for media and public relations. It is not just the big stuff, such as firing Willie Randolph at 3 a.m. or fighting publicly with Carlos Beltran over knee surgery. It is the hundreds and thousands of little things that are part of the daily process of running a baseball team. The Mets are consistently imperfect at getting out even the simplest of messages. It has reached the point at which I routinely ask Mets officials how dumb their second-best idea must have been to go public with what they do.

• Record columnist Bob Klapisch says this sends a clear signal to other teams the Mets are open for business in trades. Perhaps that will, if not at the trading deadline, include the not-superstar-but-does-everything-the-organization-asks -without-ever-disgracing-them David Wright next offseason. Writes Klapisch:

Or was Wilpon simply using the forum to prepare Mets fans for the upcoming purge at the trading deadline? According to one major league executive, Wilpon’s observations were akin to a clanging of the Chuck Wagon Triangle bell. All that was missing was Wilpon’s rallying cry: Come and get it! “You don’t talk that way about your players unless you’ve distanced yourself from them,” the executive said. “Most owners don’t do this.”

Scott Boras, the agent for Carlos Beltran, tells he would have preferred any critical comments stay in-house. Read more in the Post.

• If you like some on-field baseball, Dan Martin of the Post discusses the success of Jason Isringhausen. J.P. Ricciardi says: "If I had told you on March 1 that he would be our eight-inning setup guy, you would have looked at me like I had six heads. But in this business, you never say no. He wanted to throw for us in spring training and you can't have success if you don't take a chance." Writes Martin:

Jason Isringhausen isn't much for reminiscing about the old days, but he does recall his first game in the majors -- a start for the Mets against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 17, 1995. "I remember the first batter was Brian McRae and I struck him out," said Isringhausen, who gave up two runs in seven innings, but didn't get a decision in that 7-2 Mets win. "It was nerve-wracking and fun. I just tried to come out and throw strikes. Same thing I do now." The 38-year-old right-hander returns to Chicago tonight, a long way from the rookie he was 16 years ago.

• The Post's Mike Puma gets Terry Collins' reaction to his team being called poop-like. “I’m not going to get into that comment. I can't,” Collins responded. As for whether Wilpon's comments will be a distraction, Collins said: "These guys are professionals and I don’t think a lot of that stuff fazes them. The media around here can be very critical at times and I think these guys are aware of it, and you’ve got to go play. They can’t worry about anything else.”

• Times columnist Harvey Araton says Wilpon is passing the buck, writing:

But although Wilpon is no mean-spirited autocrat, he reveals himself to be a why-me whiner and a first-rate revisionist. He may have fingered himself as the dummy who gave Beltran $119 million in 2004 based on one productive postseason, but that is about all the accountability he serves Toobin along with the burgers.

• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro says Wilpon should sell. He doesn't mean a minority share, either. Writes Vaccaro:

Does he love the team? Unquestionably. If he wanted to prove his cred as a fan, he sure did that, sounding like Freddy from Farmingdale in the New Yorker story. Wilpon’s protectors immediately declared this was nothing that Boss Steinbrenner didn’t do back in the day. Only Steinbrenner always backed up his belligerence with his bankbook, sometimes to his detriment. The Yankees were always solvent. Fans who hated Steinbrenner probably hated the vapor-lock grip he held on the team, even in exile, because he could always cover his bets. Remember, Steinbrenner also paid less than $1 million to grab the Yankees, same as Wilpon did with the Mets. Steinbrenner’s break is that he never sent Hank or Hal to Roslyn High School, so they could never run into Mark Madoff in the school cafeteria.

• Star-Ledger columnist Jeff Bradley writes Wilpon's underlying points mostly are correct:

Reyes will only get seven years and $142 million -- what Crawford was given by the Red Sox -- if he gets to free agency and some team with deep pockets has overrated his value, or thinks he’s the final piece in their puzzle (as the Sox did with Crawford, on both counts). The Mets shortstop is exciting, flashy and talented. He’s also missed 150 games to injury the last two seasons. ... Beltran, while a very solid all-around player, got more than he deserved based on his epic 2004 postseason (.435 with eight home runs in 12 playoff games with the Astros). ... Perhaps the only assessment of Wilpon’s that is off the mark is what he had to say about Wright -- and that’s just because the term “superstar” can be defined in different ways.

• Daily News columnist Mike Lupica's take:

Of course this will be treated like the crime of the century around here. It's not, even if Wilpon ought to be on a plane to Chicago today to talk to these players face-to-face and explain to them what he was doing. Or what he thought he was doing. Reyes isn't worth $140 million and Wright, whom I like as much as any ballplayer in town, isn't a superstar. Beltran isn't what he was. All true.

• Read the news story on Wilpon's comments in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday, Daily News, Journal and Record.

• Even Derek Jeter was asked to weigh in on Wilpon's comments. "Don't drag me into this one too," Jeter said, according to Newsday. "Everybody got that? I've got nothing to do with that."

• A Wilpon-company-owned office park in Hauppauge on Long Island was turned over to creditors after missing mortgage payments, according to Newsday.

• Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski writes the trustee trying to recover funds for Bernard Madoff's victims believes the Wilpons haven't been totally forthcoming in turning over documents. The Wilpons feel the same way about the trustee, Irving Picard.

• According to the Daily News, Wilpon tells Sports Illustrated the Mets are "bleeding cash" and could lose as much as $70 million this season.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever Jerry DiPoto, who served as interim GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks last season after Josh Byrnes' ouster, turns 43. DiPoto went 11-8 in 1995 and '96, pitching 115 times in relief. DiPoto’s primary skill was home-run avoidance. He allowed only seven long balls in 156 innings as a Met. ... Former Mets starter Jae Seo turns 34. The South Korean pitcher's best days came from 2002 to 2005, when he went 22-24 for the Mets. Afterward, for the Rays and Dodgers, he was a combined 6-16. -Mark Simon

In-depth: Boras to Mets: Keep it in-house

May, 23, 2011

US Presswire
Scott Boras (left) says Fred Wilpon (center) would be better served if he did not speak about client Carlos Beltran (right) and other Mets publicly.
Scott Boras is not often the sympathetic figure. He takes extreme bargaining positions on behalf of his clients, and often strikes favorable deals as a result. Some sap even gave Carlos Beltran seven years, $119 million after the outfielder slugged eight homers in 12 postseason games with the Houston Astros in 2004.

On the topic of the Mets’ treatment, though, Beltran and Boras clearly are victims.

For the third time in three years, Boras’ client Beltran has been assailed by his employer on a matter that would have been better served staying in-house.

In January 2009, the ownership group publicly stated Beltran did not have permission to undergo surgery. No matter the reality, Boras and Beltran could have been screamed at privately. Instead, the Mets went on the record saying they were reserving their rights for potential action as a result of the procedure taking place, allegedly without their permission (which was disputed).

Then, last year, the whisper campaign started about discontent with Beltran, as well as Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, when they skipped a voluntary -- but widely attended -- team visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C.

Now, Beltran is mocked -- intentionally or otherwise -- in The New Yorker by Fred Wilpon for taking that infamous strike three from Adam Wainwright that ended the Mets’ 2006 season in Game 7 of the NLCS. The owner also complains Beltran’s skills have deteriorated and that he is only 65 to 70 percent of the player for which the Mets paid a premium.

Boras’ perfectly reasonable point? How about keeping this stuff in-house for a change?

“Regarding owners, their critiques, their evaluation, certainly they’re entitled to them,” Boras said. “It’s just that they should be kept internal to try to create a successful environment. Certainly when you have elite players at this level this year, and leading your team with the type of performance that you want, I just think it’s clearly in the best interest for everyone that they should be kept internal -- for the current performance of the team and also the future interests of the team with what they may intend to do with these players as the season unfolds.

“It’s not the Fred Wilpon I know,” Boras added. “I think that he’ll reflect back on this and certainly wish that those comments were made internally to his staff.”

It’s especially vital not to antagonize Boras and Beltran since they can hold up the Mets’ plans to move Beltran at the trading deadline, assuming the team has faded from wild-card contention.

While Francisco Rodriguez, who may end up on the block as well, has a limited no-trade clause that includes 10 teams, Beltran chose the Mets over the Astros during that 2004-05 season because the Mets offered a full no-trade clause.

Boras reiterated the no-trade clause’s importance to Beltran’s signing with the Mets by saying Monday: “No doubt, it was a primary point that he wanted to make sure he got to stay in one place with his family as long as he could.”

Well, that means Beltran now holds the cards.

Is it mutually beneficial for Beltran to be sent to a playoff race, as he was with the Astros after the ’04 midseason trade from the Kansas City Royals? Sure. After all, that postseason performance seven years ago set up the big free-agent contract with the Mets?

But let’s just say Beltran can make it difficult by either not wanting to go to a certain destination -- or not want to go at all unless the new team would add a year or two to his deal. Remember, Beltran’s close friend Carlos Delgado once balked at being traded by the Toronto Blue Jays, even though it meant he would finish the season with meaningless games rather than in postseason contention with a new address.

“It’s not something you really discuss with the player until the issue becomes ripe,” Boras said about discussing waiving a no-trade clause now. “So I think Carlos went into the season thinking he was going to be healthy and the Mets were going to be in the thick of a race. It’s still too early. I’m sure if that subject came up, it would be something to address.”

Regardless, Beltran has stayed healthy. So any deal would not be limited to an American League club needing a designated hitter.

“This offseason Carlos told me the issue was not his leg that was surgically repaired,” Boras said. “He said he felt just really, really strong. It’s just when he got to spring training he had an issue with the opposite [left] leg. He was pain-free. He was just in a different place than he was a year ago.”

In-depth appears Tuesdays during the regular season

Fred disses players

May, 23, 2011

Adam Rubin
Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon embraces former Lafayette High School teammate Sandy Koufax at Mets camp in February.
In an extensive New Yorker feature about Fred Wilpon's rags-to-riches tale, the Mets' principal owner does make several pointed comments about the team. Among them:

Jose Reyes will not be getting a super-huge contract from the Mets. "He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to Crawford's seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. “He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”

On Carlos Beltran, Wilpon refers to Beltran's huge postseason with the Houston Astros in 2004 and says: “We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He’s sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.”

On whether the franchise might snakebit, Wilpon makes another Beltran reference. Author Jeffrey Toobin writes:

At one point, I mentioned to Wilpon the theory that the Mets might be cursed. He gave a sort of half laugh, and said, “You mean” -- and then pantomimed a checked swing of the bat. Any Mets fan (I am one) would understand the reference. The Mets took the 2006 National League Championship Series to a seventh game against the Cardinals.

Wilpon said about David Wright: "Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."

Wilpon does like Ike Davis apparently. "Good hitter," Wilpon says. "[Word for poop] team. Good hitter. ...We're snakebitten, baby."

Bernie Madoff then offers Wilpon endorsements in the article:

He wrote Toobin in an e-mail: “Fred was not [at] all stock market savvy and Saul [Katz] was not really either. They were strictly Real Estate people. Although I explained the Strategy to them they were not sophisticated enough to evaluate it properly, nor were most of my other individual clients. They were not in a position to perform the necessary due diligence and did not have access to necessary financial info or records.”

In another interview, Madoff says: “He must feel that I betrayed him, as do most of my friends who were involved. Hopefully, they will understand the pressures I was under. I made money for them legitimately to start, but then I got trapped and was not able to work my way out of it. It just became impossible for me to extricate myself, or even try and extricate myself.”

Picard, Wilpons continue to spar

May, 19, 2011
Trustee Irving Picard, who is suing Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz and their families for more than $1 billion, filed an answer in U.S. Bankruptcy court to the defendants asking for the case to be dismissed or a summary judgment in their favor.

The simplest version: Picard is opposed to the case being dismissed. He cited emails which attempt to show the Sterling (Wilpons') own hedge-fund managers congratulating themselves for staying away from Bernard Madoff investments after he was arrested. The emails also purport to lament the Wilpons becoming personally involved despite supposed warnings from them. The Wilpons have countered that the warnings were merely recommendations to diversify, not alerts to potential fraud.

Good luck to mediator Mario Cuomo, by the way.

One portion of Thursday's filing reads:

The March 13, 2006 Sterling Parntner meeting minutes state: "[Sterling hedge fund operator] Peter [Stamos] has a concern about [Sterling Equities'] exposure to Madoff."

Further, Arthur Friedman testified that Peter Stamos issued a "warning" to the Sterling Partners sometime between 2002 and 2005 regarding the potential investigation of BLMIS [Madoff funds] and the possible freezing of their accounts with Madoff, and that this warning was reported to the Sterling Partners "at a partners meeting."

It also cites a purported December 2008 email from Peter Stamos, the Wilpons' own hedge fund operator, after Madoff was arrested, which states:

Fortunately our firm did not invest with Madoff. That firm and fund wouldn't make it through our risk and ops controls -- lack of transparency, no third party administrator, etc. Unfortunately, our partners -- Saul and Fred -- against our recommendations invested as individuals and through their real estate firm.

The Wilpons shot back later in the day, sending out this lengthy statement:

For months our reputations and our businesses have been subjected to the Trustee's false allegations, and today's filing recklessly rehashes the same fictitious claims. As the Partners have said all along, they did not know Bernie Madoff was engaged in a fraud. There were no red flags and they received no warnings. The Trustee's opposition papers filed today say nothing different. The only thing the Trustee has debunked is the veracity of his own story.

The Trustee filed a complaint, then an amended complaint, and attacked the Sterling partners in the press, throwing everything he had at them. They challenged him. Now he has responded. And what has he shown? NOTHING.

He has rehashed what is in the amended complaint, he has pointed to documents that he already has cited -- which either support the partners' case or are irrelevant -- and he has done nothing to defeat the truth.

The Sterling Stamos witnesses NEVER warned that Madoff was a fraud. They thought Bernie Madoff was honest, honorable and a securities superstar. No one else warned the partners about fraud. The SEC did not warn about fraud. The Sterling Partners were innocent customers of a highly respected and regulated broker, and the Trustee has shown you NOTHING that changes that reality.

The Trustee took extensive discovery that he continues to REFUSE to disclose. If he had evidence from this discovery to support his claims, he would have included it in his opposition. But he did not. Instead, he says he needs MORE discovery. He also cannot refute the testimony of his chief witnesses, which indisputably contradicts his own complaint.

This was the Trustee's third chance to put forward his evidence, and it is clear: He has no evidence, and no witnesses, to support his baseless claims against the Sterling Partners."

Mets morning briefing 5.18.11

May, 18, 2011
The Mets had won three straight series before dropping Monday's game to the Marlins, 2-1, in 11 innings, then having Tuesday's game rained out.

Read the series preview for the Mets-Nationals two-game series here.

Tuesday's rainout will be made up on July 18 at 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday's news reports:

David Wright landed on the DL. Justin Turner shifts to third base, with Ruben Tejada manning second. Nick Evans will be a bat off the bench, with occasional starts against left-handed pitching at first base in place of Daniel Murphy. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Post, Times and Daily News.

Pedro Beato returned from the disabled list.

• Newsday's David Lennon says Jason Bay is starting to get the Luis Castillo treatment at Citi Field. Writes Lennon:

It's getting ugly. Bay exhaled a sigh of relief after homering in his third game this season -- which wasn't until April 23 because of a strained rib-cage muscle -- but that was only a temporary reprieve. In the 18 games since then, Bay is .197/.312/.258 with one homer and three RBI. That's a small sample size. But perhaps a better indication of where he's at is what happened in the 10th inning Monday. Bay, hitting fourth, actually laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Beltran to second base. It was his first sacrifice bunt since 2004 -- that's not something usually done by 38-homer guys -- and, truth be told, it was a good bunt. This is not to argue with the strategy. We just mentioned that he's hitting .197 (13-for-66) and I don't blame Terry Collins, who probably figured he couldn't get much more out of Bay in that at-bat.

• If Jose Reyes does depart via trade, or via free agency at the end of the season, Tejada very likely emerges as the shortstop. Writes the Post's Kevin Kernan about Tejada:

[Terry] Collins sees nothing but success for Tejada, who played in 78 games for the Mets last season after being forced into major league action because of injuries to Reyes. In 216 at-bats, Tejada hit just .213 but showed flashes of success. He’s only 21. “He has a very good two-strike approach, one of the things I saw in Buffalo last year was his handling of the bat, deep into a count where he’ll take balls the other way,” Collins said. “He’s dangerous enough, he’s got just enough power that early in the count, if you give him a ball that he can drive, he’ll drive it and he’ll hit a homer. I think the future and the ceiling for this guy offensively is pretty high.”

Josh Thole shut down his Twitter account because certain fans made it not fun with heckling. Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) has vibrant banter with fans on Twitter and does not care about any negativity. The Marlins' outfielder tells the Daily News' Anthony McCarron: "I like interacting with the fans. It's all part of it. I know they're going to say stupid stuff, like heckling, basically, and that happens on the field, too. At the end of the day, I'm the one out there playing and they're jealous, so I don't really care."

Fred Wilpon will be the subject of a feature in New York Magazine, according to the Post. He posed for a photo in the dugout with players.

Carlos Beltran will be an attractive trade chip because he has managed to stay on the field and produce. Writes Steve Popper in the Record:

He missed a game Saturday because he woke up with conjunctivitis, but he was back in the lineup a day later. Only Jose Reyes has played more games (41) than Beltran (39) this year -- a fittingly ironic statistic since both have been plagued by injuries over the last two years. Their productive performances have made them the Mets’ most likely trading chips. Beltran entered the year as if he would just run out his final year in New York. Two bad knees, an $18 million payout due this year and a clause in his contract that prohibits arbitration -- meaning no draft picks in return for using Beltran as a rental -- made him untradeable. That was until he played and produced.

On his blog, Popper lists the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics and Giants as potential landing spots for Beltran.

BIRTHDAY: Nelson Figueroa turns 37. Figeuroa, a Brooklyn native, won six games for the Mets, whom he grew up following, in 2008 and 2009. Figueroa’s time with the Mets helped resurrect his major league career. Prior to pitching in Flushing, he hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2004. Figueroa began the season in the Astros rotation, but accepted an assignment to Triple-A last week. -Mark Simon

Selig: Dodgers, Mets no comparison

May, 9, 2011

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Bud Selig

While appearing on the premiere of Mike Lupica's 2 p.m. radio show on ESPN New York 1050, commissioner Bud Selig maintained comparing the Mets' and Dodgers' financial messes is inappropriate:

"There are enormous complexities in both deals," Selig said. "I've read all these stories that say 'Well, they're really the same.' They're far from the same. Without going into details that haven't been announced, Fred Wilpon and I have been friends for a long time, and I have enormous respect and affection for him. But Fred Wilpon is doing what he should do. He's looking for an economic mechanism that will bring equity into the club -- sheer raw cash to put it in the most candid way. That alone is a huge difference.

"To compare one situation to the other is factually incorrect. I've talked to Fred a lot about it, and I feel very comfortable that we're gonna have a very reasoned economic solution to that problem as opposed to another.

"They're approaching it the way I would've approached it. They're looking to add equity and I don't doubt that's gonna work out. The Madoff situation? That's well in the future. But in this case, to solve the immediate problem, they're doing it."

Read more of Selig's comments here.

Mets morning briefing 4.21.11

April, 21, 2011
Jason Bay is scheduled to return Thursday as the Mets try to salvage the series finale against the Houston Astros with Chris Capuano on the mound. The Mets are 1-9 at Citi Field this season and have the worst record in the majors at 5-13.

Thursday's news reports:

• Major League Baseball announced it was taking control of operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Read the MLB statement here.)

Columnist Ken Davidoff in Newsday notes that Bud Selig will give Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz a lot more rope than Dodgers owner Frank McCourt because of the close relationship the Wilpons have with the commissioner.

Wondering if the Mets are next for takeover, Daily News columnist Bill Madden writes:

No one -- except the Mets owners themselves -- knows how close they are to being in the same precarious situation as McCourt. At least they are able to sell a substantial part of the team to secure the necessary capital to continue operating the Mets while they fight the $1 billion lawsuit leveled against them by Madoff trustee Irving Picard. With the ownership of the Dodgers entangled in the divorce case, McCourt can't even do that -- which presumably is what makes the Dodgers' situation more imminently critical for Selig. As one baseball executive familiar with the Dodgers' situation said Wednesday night: "Selig had no choice taking over the team." ...

He might have added that Selig can't stand McCourt and is making every effort to get him out of baseball. ... With Wilpon, however, it's just the opposite. Selig considers Wilpon a close friend and ally and, no doubt, is taking the Mets owners at their word that the $200 million they get from an investor will keep the club solvent for the foreseeable future.

Bobby Parnell is due to have an angiogram on Thursday to determine whether there is clotting in his arm that might be causing numbness in his middle finger. The belief is that's the case, but that it can be treated with aspirin, which thins the blood. Parnell will officially land on the DL to make room for Bay. That will give Terry Collins a five-man bench for the first time since April 10, when Ryota Igarashi and Jason Isringhausen were promoted and Lucas Duda and Blaine Boyer departed, which upped the bullpen to eight members.

Finger numbness caused by clotting is not unprecedented among pitchers. Tom Glavine underwent an angiogram on Aug. 21, 2006 while with the Mets after experiencing coldness and numbness in his left ring finger. The need for surgery was ruled out in that case. A decade earlier with the Yankees, David Cone experienced finger numbness and the digits turning blue. Doctors discovered an aneurysm in Cone's shoulder after an angiogram and the right-hander required surgery.

Read more on Parnell in the Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Post and Record.

• A day after going 4-for-4 with two homers with Class A St. Lucie, Bay completed his rehab assignment by going 1-for-3 with two walks for the Florida State League club. Contrasting last year's concussion to the rib-cage strain he suffered two days before the Mets broke camp in Port St. Lucie this year, Bay told

"Maybe this is a little more frustrating because when you run into a wall you get a concussion. 'OK, hey, what happens, happens.' But to come in healthy and feeling good, then take a swing in batting practice two days before the season starts? That stunk. That was the toughest part. If it had happened at the beginning of spring, I could deal with it and move on. I keep telling people my timing is impeccable because it couldn't have happened at a worse time."

Bay has not appeared in a major league game since July 25, 2010 at Dodger Stadium.

Carlos Beltran tells Newsday about Bay's return: "That would mean I'm going to see a lot of fastballs, and that's good for everybody."

Post columnist Joel Sherman has this take on Bay being back:

For now, [Sandy] Alderson's administration is at the mercy of the mistakes enacted during the [Omar] Minaya regime. So he has had to oversee the limping exchange of Carlos Beltran from center to right. He had to release Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez with the Mets eating $18 million. He has to worry about Francisco Rodriguez finishing 55 games, which would trigger a payroll-killing $17.5 million salary for 2012. And, now, here comes Bay today; who has a chance to be yet another booby prize from the old administration. He is just a year and a month into a four-year, $66 million contract. ... All in all, Bay's signing is taking on all the earmarks of another Mets' financial disaster, especially because his contract runs through 2013.

R.A. Dickey summed it up after the Mets again lost to the Astros on Wednesday. "We have to be honest with ourselves about what kind of team we are," the knuckleballer told reporters. "We can't just keep telling ourselves, 'We're a better team than this.' We may not be. And we've got to be honest about that and identify what we're doing wrong and do it better." Read game accounts in Newsday, the Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Post and Record. The Times also has more detailed Dickey comments here.

David Wright on Thursday tries to snap an 0-for-19 drought, which matches the longest of his career. Wright also has 22 strikeouts, one shy of Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez's NL-leading 23. The third baseman tells Howard Kussoy in the Post: "Some of them have been good at-bats and the pitcher makes a good pitch with two strikes -- nothing you can really do about it. I'm feeling alright. I'm having some good at-bats, just not really much to show for it, but I think if I continue having good at-bats, the results will be there."

Lenny Dykstra was freed on $150,000 bond. Read more here.

BIRTHDAYS: Former closer Jesse Orosco turns 54. Besides being the pitcher who closed out the 1986 NLCS and World Series, Orosco had the unusual distinction of having his win and loss totals (47-47) match his primary uniform number. ... Former Mets pitcher Randy Sterling turns 60. Sterling took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his major league debut against the Montreal Expos on Sept. 16, 1974, and ended up with a 3-2 win, his only major league victory. A future Met also debuted in that game. Gary Carter went 0-for-4 at catcher for the Expos. ... Ronny Paulino, who now takes his rehab tour to Buffalo in preparation for activation from the DL on Tuesday, turns 30. -Mark Simon

Mets morning briefing 3.26.11

March, 26, 2011
Carlos Beltran is scheduled to play five innings in right field in a minor league game Saturday. As long as he doesn't step foot in a Grapefruit League game, the Mets can still place him on the DL if needed and he would only have to miss three regular-season games.

On to the day's news reports:

• Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) floats the idea of the government bailing out Ponzi scheme victims, and in essence supports those who profited keeping that money. Victims of Bernard Madoff lost about $20 billion, according to trustee Irving Picard, the man charged with recovering funds. Newsday reports that King, who has received roughly $9,000 in political donations from the Wilpons the past decade, said about the trustee suing Mets owners: "I think Picard has abused his power and the media has sort of fallen for it." The newspaper reports Picard and his law firm have made roughly $131 million while recovering about $10 billion for victims (1.31 percent of the sum collected).

• Remember when Beltran went into Terry Collins' office and defused a potentially sticky situation by volunteering to move from center field to right field? Well, that was all the way back on Feb. 28. Now, Beltran is finally ready to appear in a game at the position, after dealing with left knee tendinitis in addition to his arthritic right knee. "Honestly, I'm taking this day by day," Beltran tells Newsday's David Lennon. "In my mind, since I've been out on the field, doing my rehab, I've been confident that I wanted to be in the [Opening Day] starting lineup. Based on what I did [Thursday] in the field -- running the bases and going full speed, 100 percent -- if I don't feel anything then, I'm more confident now."

Mike Sielski notes how Beltran sometimes reads the back of the baseball cards in his locker of him to remind himself what kind of player he has always been. "You have to be realistic with yourself," Beltran tells Costa regarding his knee injury. "I told my wife that I will play this game until I feel that I can't produce. If I don't feel I can produce, it doesn't matter if they pay me one, two million dollars. There's no reason for me to play. I'd embarrass myself. I don't want to embarrass myself. No one wants to embarrass himself."

• Read more about Beltran in Newsday and the Post.

Pedro Martinez's portrait is now on display in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Read the Associated Press story and see the image via the Post here.

• Post columnist Kevin Kernan discusses how Chris Young effectively hides the ball, giving the batter less reaction time and making the pitch seem quicker. "His front foot hits the ground and his arm is down behind his body, there's a fulcrum effect," catcher Mike Nickeas tells Kernan. "Chris is bright, a hard worker. He's a thinker. He's constantly thinking steps ahead, that's something that's a nice feature to have on a pitcher, a guy who can see a couple of batters ahead as opposed to a guy who is just focusing on his pitch."

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger talks about the positives of Young and Chris Capuano's springs, but also writes:

At, a sabermetrically inclined analysis website, Capuano and Young each project a 62 percent chance to land on the disabled list this year. The site’s projection system is based on a formula involving a player’s age, number of trips to the DL and starts completed in the past three seasons. Neither pitcher measures well under that standard. But Young gives Mets fans reason to believe. For now.

Steve Popper of the Record notes that Daniel Murphy finally got to turn a double play in a Grapefruit League game as the pivot man at second base Friday in Jupiter against the Marlins. Writes Popper:

It seemed like an inconsequential play in a long line of Grapefruit League games when Dewayne Wise grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. But when Daniel Murphy walked into the clubhouse he was greeted by Ike Davis and Nick Evans, who immediately quizzed him. Was that your first double play?" Davis asked. And when Murphy confessed it was his first this spring, Davis said, "I’m a first baseman and I’ve had two." Evans shook his head and said, "I’ve had more than you." Murphy took the jokes, pleased that he finally got the chance.

David Waldstein of the Times looks at .094 career hitter Mike Pelfrey. “I’ve kind of been in a slump the last six years,” Pelfrey tells Waldstein. Pelfrey asked to participate in Friday's minor league intrasquad game beacause he is having trouble bunting too. Collins plans to have minor league pitchers throw to the Mets pitchers the next several days, until camp breaks, to get more proficient in that area, because the manager largely has been displeased with the showings.

BIRTHDAYS: Jose Vizcaino turns 43. He played infield for the Mets from 1994 through July 29, 1996, when he was traded to the Cleveland Indians with Jeff Kent for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza.

The court filing by Mets owners

March, 20, 2011
Aspiring legal eagle? Read the Wilpons' actual, court-filed response to the $1 billion lawsuit brought against them here »



Daniel Murphy
.297 7 37 55
HRC. Granderson 14
RBIL. Duda 46
RD. Murphy 55
OPSL. Duda .835
WB. Colon 8
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 99