Bud Selig at ease with Mets' financial situation
Commissioner Bud Selig stayed on message regarding the state of the Mets, once again reiterating his support of the Wilpon family, even as the franchise deals with financial questions in the aftermath of the Bernard Madoff lawsuit, which was settled in March.
"I have no concerns whatsoever," Selig said Wednesday when asked about the team's financial health.
With the offseason looming, and with approaching negotiations to keep David Wright with the franchise long term, it's unclear whether the Mets can afford to raise payroll from $95 million.
Nevertheless, Selig said he's "very confident" that the franchise is on the right track.
The Mets' owners agreed to pay back over five years $162 million in fake profits they received from the Ponzi scheme. Their net obligation could be much less than that amount, because Picard agreed to allow Wilpon and his partners to file a claim for $178 million lost in the fraud and to use that amount to offset what they owe. Shortly after, the Mets completed the sale of 12 minority shares of the team for $240 million and repaid $65 million in loans.
"I have a lot of faith in the Wilpons," Selig said. "I have a lot of faith in [general manager] Sandy Alderson."
Selig also addressed the Mets during a taping for the YES Network's "CenterStage." In a wide-ranging interview with host Michael Kay, the commissioner touched on why he showed patience with the Mets while intervening when the Dodgers encountered financial struggles of their own under former owner Frank McCourt.
"Yes, I have great affection and respect for the Wilpons, there's no doubt about that," Selig said. "But I felt, studying all the issues, that the Mets could make it, that the Mets could survive. After all, they were the unfortunate victims of a really difficult financial scandal as you well know. That put pressure on them. But they had the respect of everybody in the game. They also had the financial power to work their way through it. I realized it would be in baseball's best interest to have patience."
While the Mets remain in the Wilpons' control, McCourt eventually sold the Dodgers to a group headlined by Magic Johnson for more than $2 billion.
"The story's had a happy ending," Selig said during the interview, which will be broadcast at 11 p.m. next Thursday on YES.
After the taping, Selig was asked if he thought the Mets' situation also concluded with a happy ending.
"I don't consider the Mets a problem in any way, shape or manner," he said. "They're on the right track. That should give you your answer."