There has been a lot of speculation that the Wilpon family, owners of the New York Mets, lost a great deal of money due to their relationship with Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. And now the team has announced that the Wilpons will sell 20-25% of the team.

Let the Stuart Sternberg-to-buy-the-Mets speculation begin!

Why would Sternberg want to buy into the Mets? Well, first and foremost, Sternberg is a Mets fan. To this day, he still maintains Mets season tickets, which means he probably attends more Mets games every year than he does Rays games.

Also, it has now been more than three years since the Rays proposed a waterfront stadium. And despite two division titles and one trip to the World Series, the Rays may be even further away from moving into a new ballpark and solving their attendance issues.

If Sternberg was going to bail, this might be a good time. But will he?

According to the more recent team valuations by Forbes, one-fourth of the Mets is worth $228 million. The Rays entire franchise is worth $320 million. So financially, the move would be an easy one.

The downside for Sternberg is that the Wilpons say they will not give up team control. And unless they would be willing to promise Sternberg control of the Mets at some point in the future, we can’t see Sternberg making the jump.

And as Rays fans, we better hope Sternberg doesn’t get that promise.

If Sternberg did want to sell his stake in the Rays and jump on board with the Mets, the most likely buyer of the Rays would be Major League Baseball. And if MLB buys the Rays, the team’s future would more likely reside in another state (think Montreal Expos).

 

 
 

20 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    The Rays entire franchise is worth $320 million.

    (Now plotting how I can get 319,999 other people to pony up $1000 and go in on this with me . . . )

  2. Joe says:

    If only we could find someone to buy the team and re do this off season. Expos eventually got moved but didnt MLB let them make trades like for example getting Colon when he was an ace? After they moved them didn’t they allow them to spend a lot in the draft? And who owned the Rangers last season? I thought that was MLB and all they did was get Cliff Lee, Benjie Molina, Jorge Cantu, Jeff Francouer and probably others and go to the WS.

  3. Amy says:

    Last time I checked Sternberg is still listed as the Principal Owner with 19 owners at the bottom of the front office page. It’s hard to say he has that much invested in the team to pull out for the Mets when he doesn’t even soley own the Rays. I could be wrong, but why even start some much unneccessary speculation when its not true. This so-called thinking is about as bad as as story who said Sternberg was going to buy the Dodgers whenever the Mccorts end their drama.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, I had a bunch of people ask me if I thought this would happen. I wrote an answer, in which I pretty much debunk the idea. So what’s the problem? Am I only allowed to speculate on something if it is going to happen?

      • Amy says:

        Didn’t know there was a such a huge base of Rays fans who cared about what is going with Mets. You don’t really debunk anything because you continue to talk about how MLB would take over the Rays. Speculating like this is unnesscessary because there isn’t any facts or rumors to back any of this up. There are more important stories and even rumors about the Rays that is worth reporting on to take seriously instead of creating more backward thinking for fans.

        • Beth says:

          And those more important stories are…..???

          This is a blog, the owner can speculate on whatever he wants. And it’s a SPORTS blog, so if he’s dead wrong he’s not going to start panic selling on Wall Street or push the button to start a nuclear war. What’s the big deal?

        • Joe says:

          I see absolutely nothing wrong with this speculation. Fact: Stu is having major difficulty in connecting with Mayor Bill Foster and the City Attorney of St. Petersburg and the City Council. If he is forced to stay in St. Petersburg or in annexable territory, he will probably litigate to see his oprtions.

          Stu I think is going to have to have an epiphany of his relationship with the Bay area. Although he has done wonders, as speculated and hypothesized in pieces like this, he has yet to “marry” the area. Moving the geographical monicker on the road uniforms also creates pause.

          This is more than fair game, and again, if Stu COMMUNICATED his intentions unequivocally, then it would be easier and a lot better for him to have his benefit of the doubt. I can’t give it to him at this point.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I didn’t make up the Mets desire to sell a portion of the team, nor did I make up Sternberg’s association with the Mets or his struggles in the Tampa Bay market. Does it take a bit of a leap to get from A to B to C. Sure. But it is not an impossible one.

  4. Mk says:

    Since when did everything posted on this blog have to be “necessary”. If you compare this to most other blogs I’d bet this one resorts to fascination and rumors the least. it’s not like this story will be the reason sternberg decides to buy in on the mets.

  5. David Bloom says:

    To be honest I don’t see how a managing partner in one company can buy ownership stake in another. But its good speculation until pitchers and catchers report. As an aside the. The WILPONZI WILL NEVER SELL unless its their only choice…

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Jeffrey Loria did it when he bought the Marlins while he was owner of the Expos. Technically he sold the Expos to MLB first, but that was done so he could buy the Marlins.

  6. Gus says:

    The point is that the Wilpons are probably going to struggle to hold on to the Mets given how close they were with Madoff. Read the New York Times (link below) for the latest. None of it is good. Sternberg wold obviously love to get the Mets and this may be the only time in his lifetime that they will come up for sale. Not sure he has the cash for it, but seems like with his successful track record with the Rays (both on the field and in the wallet) that he could easily convince others to join him to take a run at the Mets. The hardest part is getting admitted to the Baseball Owners club, and he is already in. Like Boston’s John Henry, he could work through a cheap Florida franchise to get at the jewel he really covets.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/sports/baseball/02mets.html?_r=1&ref=sports

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think you hit on a good point. I think this mess is going to lead to some groups trying to grab more than 25% of the team and even try to buy the team outright. It will be interesting to see if the Wilpons can ignore the $1 billion offers that will come their way.

      And even if it is not a serious move, knowing how Stu operates, I’m sure he has sent out feelers to at least gauge the situation.

      • Gus says:

        We’ve seen franchise swaps of franchises in pro sports because the have gnarly and significant tax issues (because they’ve owned the team so long, the capital gains taxes the Wilpons would owe on the Mets combined with the Madoff debts they are going to have pay that Trustee would wipe out much of their equity if they just sold). So that is one of the reasons why pro sports owners occasionaly swap franchises (Rams and Colts; Expos-Marlins-Red Sox). I think it has significant tax advantages (I’m not a CPA, so I’m not opining on that, but I believe that to be true).

        The big question is how significant is MLB’s Madoff exposure here. Lots of powerful people got hosed by Madoff. It will not sit well from a public relations stand point to have the Wilpons owning one of baseball’s crown jewels if they acquired it with ill-gotten Madoff Funds and/or used the Mets as a client generator for this crook. Again, the Wilpons may be innocent in ths whole thing; time will tell. But reading articles like the New York Times today and you can see the optics are terrible and they owe real money to real victims. Swapping franchises would solve lots of problems for lots of people, and Sternberg’s motivation is obvious (the 2% with a budget! My beloved Mets!).

        Again, I don’t blame Stu if he makes a run at the Mets. If I ran the Royals and had a chance to get in on the Rays, I’d jump at the chance, business principles aside. His heart is with the Mets. He lives a half hour away from the stadium. That will probably never change.

        • Beth says:

          But does “swap” suggest we get the Wilpons? Or we get Bernie Madoff? How do these swaps work for the team getting dumped?

          • Gus says:

            We’d get the Wilpons would be my guess; or a group with the Wilpons involved where they’d maybe slowly cash out. It depends if they still want to stay in baseball.

  7. rayray says:

    Take your frugality Stau & stay up north, because you sure dont live or stay in the Bay Area lest care about it as much as you do your home state rotten apple, so take a bite out of that down to the core…. Go Rays, AL East defending champs and meatloafed the AL East title the past 3 years with 2 division championships…

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