The New York Mets have submitted a list of “more than a dozen names” to Major League Baseball of people who are interested in buying a minority stake in the team. Not among those names is Stuart Sternberg, the majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, sources have told the New York Post that Sternberg is interested in purchasing a majority stake in the Mets, something I speculated could happen a few weeks ago…
In addition to the candidates whose bona fides are currently being checked by MLB, the current majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays is strongly considering taking a crack at buying the Mets — but not just a small piece, sources said.
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg — a Brooklyn native, St. John’s grad, and current Mets season-ticket holder –last night told The Post, “The Wilpons have been great owners, and I have no interest in buying the Mets.”
But sources said that if the Wilpon family is forced to sell its majority stake — against its current wishes — Sternberg would be interested, and is a logical choice to buy the team given his strong existing ties to both baseball and Wall Street.
Sternberg’s candidacy would be helped by having baseball Commissioner Bud Selig as a strong ally. But he would have to sell the Rays as a prerequisite to purchasing the Mets.
Of course, as I have said all along, this is contingent on the Mets being forced to sell a majority, or the entirety of the ballclub. If that happens, Sternberg could emerge as the ideal candidate because of his resume and because of what he can bring to one of baseball’s signature franchises. That is the ability to run a successful franchise without needing to spending $200 million on payroll.
An owner that can keep the Mets successful and relevant (good for baseball) while maintaining a reasonable payroll, would go a long ways to helping keep player salaries in check throughout baseball. And that is exactly the type of owner the rest of baseball would want controlling the Mets.