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David Einhorn nears Mets minority ownership: An FAQ

Undated file photo of David Einhorn.

Undated file photo of David Einhorn. Credit: Getty Images

So who is this David Einhorn, who stands a couple of paperwork keystrokes away from being the newest minority owner of the Mets?

Well, he’s 42 years old and presides over Greenlight Capital, a hedge fund that has made him a very rich man — one who can whip out a $200 million personal check to help bail the Wilpon family out of their Bernie Madoff-induced fiasco. But the real questions surrounding Einhorn relate to future clout. Here are a few things people want to know.

1. Will Einhorn trade Jose Reyes?

He’s not trading — or signing — anybody because Einhorn's one-third stake does not grant him operational power. Majority owner Fred Wilpon, COO Jeff Wilpon and president Saul Katz will continue to run the team until such time as financial issues force them to sell their controlling share. That time is not now.

2. So what can Einhorn do?

Sit back and enjoy the expensive season tickets. Oh, and watch his investment grow. Or decrease. Though with his profit history of purchasing undervalued companies, bet the former. That’s the beauty of minority ownership. That $200 million check written now might be worth twice as much if he decides to cash out three years from now, without Einhorn lifting as much as a finger.

3. Any chance of him becoming the Mets’ new owner?

Maybe. But Einhorn has been telling the media that he has no great ambitions to run a team at this point. On Monday, he dismissed a New York Times report that claimed he has an option to increase his stake to a 60 percent controlling share after three years, with buyout options for the Wilpons. But he was refuting the particulars, not the overall concept of total ownership.

4. How will this affect the team’s on-field performance?

It could have a relaxing effect. The players now know the Wilpons won’t have to run to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for another sizeable loan to make payroll. And they certainly won’t see any more critical comments in The New Yorker. Aside from the cash infusion they bring, minority owners are largely irrelevant. They are unintimidating people who hang out and slap players on the back. That may be exactly what the Mets need amid the chaos of 2011.

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