Mets Received Loan From MLB

SATURDAY, 5:51pm: Union head Michael Weiner told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that despite the team's financial trouble, he's confident the Mets will pay their players on time.

"I rely upon both the assurances we received from the commissioner's office as well as the documents that we are entitled to under the basic agreement," said Weiner. "What I said when I was in [Mets camp] was that I have every confidence that all the obligations to players under the basic agreement in their contracts will be met, and I still have every confidence that that's going to be the case."

The player's union was aware the commissioner's office was giving the Mets a loan since the Collective Bargaining Agreement entitles them to such financial information. 

FRIDAY, 5:49pm: The Mets, dealing with a cash shortage, received $25MM from Major League Baseball in November, according to Michael S. Schmidt and David Waldstein of the New York Times.

MLB typically extends its 30 clubs a credit of $75MM, according to the report, which the Mets have already exhausted in addition to the $400MM debt they have on the team. To boot, more financial damage looms for the Mets, as they face a $1 billion lawsuit by Irving Picard, the trustee of the victims of the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme.

The Mets issued a statement, confirming the report and offering no further comment, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter links):

We said in October that we expect to have a short-term liquidity issue. To address this, we did receive a loan from Major League Baseball in November. Beyond that, we will not discuss the matter any further.

The loan is expected to be paid back "relatively quickly," according to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.

It is speculated in the Times report that Selig's assistance to offer financial aid to a big-market franchise, on the hook for about $140MM in player salary this year, might anger other owners. As well, it signals that the Mets are in dire financial straits, according to sports-industry consultant Marc Ganis, because the league is typically a "lender of last resort."

In January, the Wilpons announced that they are looking to sell a minority stake — perhaps 20 or 25 percent — in the team, and so far, that search has generated only "modest interest," according to the Times, with fewer than 12 investors applying to investigate the team's finances.

Aside from the Madoff mess, the Mets were wise to be stingy with their cash this offseason, writes Ed Price of FanHouse.com, because there wasn't a big-ticket free agent who could have put them over the top. And with a lot of money coming off the books after this season, the franchise will have flexibility moving forward — even if it doesn't spend $150MM per year on payroll — because teams can compete with any payroll so long as they spend wisely.


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