Shortly before Monday night's Subway Series opener, the Mets denied a story in The New York Times that said team president Saul Katz, who owns a majority share along with brother-in-law Fred Wilpon, has expressed a desire to sell his stake in the franchise.
"There is no truth to the reports of any intention of selling," Katz said in a statement issued by the team. "I have no intention of selling my share nor have I ever had any intention of selling my share."
In the Times story, anonymous baseball sources described Katz as tired of investing his own money to prop up the Mets, who have been enduring sizable financial losses because of plummeting attendance figures and the fallout from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The Mets have focused on cutting payroll since spending $142 million in 2011 and that number has steadily dropped to roughly $86 million for this year.
Despite the frugal operating procedures by a big-market team, and well-documented post-Madoff money problems, both principal owner Fred Wilpon and his son, COO Jeff Wilpon, repeatedly have said they are not interested in selling the Mets.
The Wilpon family has made it clear that they intend to keep the Mets for generations, and with the support of commissioner Bud Selig -- a close friend and powerful ally to Fred -- the Wilpons have not faced pressure from Major League Baseball or other owners to sell the team.
But the Times reported that could change if Katz indeed pushes forward to sell his share. According to the story, there now is a renewed concern about the Mets' financial stability. With the MLB owners, including Selig, scheduled to have their quarterly meetings this week in Manhattan, it is a topic that could come up, even though a source said Monday that the possibility of Katz selling is not something that was previously discussed.