New York billionaire Steve Cohen “has decided to walk away” from his bid to buy an 80 percent share of the Mets from the Wilpon family, Thornton McEnery of the New York Post reports. Rumors of the deal falling through surfaced earlier today on Barstool Radio (Twitter link), and McEnery now reports that Cohen is “deeply unhappy” with the Wilpons’ attempt to make late changes to their agreement.
The Mets have yet to comment directly on the matter, although ownership did release the following statement in response to today’s rumors:
The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment.
It was reported back in early December that Cohen, already a minority owner, was in talks with Fred Wilpon about a five-year sale plan that would see Cohen assume an 80 percent share of the team beginning with the 2025 season. The proposed arrangement would’ve seen Fred Wilpon remain the Mets’ control person and CEO for the next five years, with his son, Jeff Wilpon, staying on board as the COO for that same period of time. Although that’s a ways into the future, the very notion of a sale brought about hope for a Mets fan base that has long been infuriated with one of the game’s most widely criticized ownership groups. Now, it seems as though the status quo will be maintained indefinitely.
There’s no formal word yet that the deal has been laid to rest, but Joe Pantorno of amNewYork Metro writes that an official announcement could come later this week. If the deal does indeed crash and burn, it’ll be just the latest step in yet another drama-filled Mets offseason.
The Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway after the season ended and dragged out the interview/hiring process longer than nearly any other club, ultimately hiring Carlos Beltran to replace him. However, when Beltran was named in commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal, the Mets took their time deliberating before eventually announcing a “mutual” decision to part ways with Beltran before he even managed a game. Quality control coach Luis Rojas was then named Beltran’s replacement. Beyond the sale that wasn’t to be and the hiring of two managers in a single offseason, the Mets also restructured the final year of Yoenis Cespedes’ $110MM contract after he was injured in what was reported to be an incident involving a wild boar on his ranch.