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The Mets' sale and Mark Teixeira's agent switch

This morning's blog post invovles two local stories, both of which requre us to gaze through the thicket of information to try to grasp the greater picture.

(I guess you could say that about every story. But work with me here.)

1) Fred Wilpon really is respected in baseball circles. Actually, "respected" might not be strong enough a term.

He is a senior member of the Major League Baseball owners' fraternity, he has a history of treating people well and his charitable ventures are sincere, legitimate and helpful. For all the grief he has taken from Mets fans, much of it deserved, no one in the industry disputes his love for the game and his desire to make the Mets champions once more.

Right now, however, it feels like that respect - or, again, a stronger word, if you so desire - has been converted into a polite form of denial.

Major League Baseball would probably loan the Mets more money, if the need arose for a bridge-type arragnement. But that, like the previous loan, would likely represent a stopgap.

It seems as though the whole search for a minority shareholder is little more than a diversion, the equivalent of throwing a ball for a dog to chase down so you can get the dog out of your hair for 30 seconds.

The dog keeps coming back, and it 's extremely fair to wonder whether the Wilpons and Saul Katz can outrun their grave financial problems, even if they actually sell a quarter of the team for, say, $200 million.

I admittedly haven't seen the Mets' books; maybe that Sandy Alderson-Terry Collins commercial has generated an immense amount of interest and the club will shatter its attendance record. Probably not, though.

Look at it this way: With the Bernie Madoff dividends gone, and with the Wilpons' real estate company struggling like every other such company in this economy, the Wilpons and Katz have one bona fide source of revenue. That's the Mets themselves, and their revenues are obviously down significantly since Citi Field opened in 2009.

From that revenue, they have to satisfy four masters: 1) The banks to whom they owe money, from the loans they've taken out these last few years; 2) the bond payments on Citi Field; 3) the actual operating expenses of a baseball team; and 4) the Irving Picard lawsuit (which could expand).

The math sure doesn't seem to work in the Mets' favor, even if MLB helps them out a little more, or even if they find that 25-percent shareholder.

One person in the loop came up with a solution which would allow the Wilpons and Katz to maintain at least some controlling interest in the team: Sell 50 percent for $500 million. That surely wouldn't appeal to the Mets' current owners, since they were so thrilled to buy out Nelson Doubleday's 50 percent back in 2002.

It would be more appealing than losing the team altogether, however.

--Mark Cuban is not yet a player in the Mets' sale.

--A group with Rays ties is among the groups interested in purchasing a minority share.

2) Mark Teixeira fired Scott Boras. Surprising. Didn't see that one coming.

Some in the yakosphere (copyright Neil Best) will surely try to portray this as some sort of defeat embarrassment or defeat for Boras. And while Boras surely would have preferred for this not to have occurred, he gets to collect commission on Teixeira's contract through 2016 and now doesn't have to sweat any of the small stuff along the way.

I thought it was interesting that Teixeira discussed an apparent disappointment that he was regarded as "Mark Teixeira, Scott Boras client, instead of Mark Teixeira, baseball player." 

I'd think that someone already has said this to Teixeira in person, but the train left the station on that one a long, long time ago.

If you sign with Boras, almost always, you're going to become a free agent as soon as you possibly can. That's the Boras strategy. It usually works, and it certainly did for Teixeira. No judgments here.

But such a strategy comes with collateral damage. \No matter how much charity work Teixeira does - and it's not like Boras clients can't do charity work. Just look at what Carlos Beltran has done in Puerto Rico - it's not going to matter to the fans in Texas, who watched him grow up as a Ranger and nvertheless knew that he wasn't going to sign a long-term contract to stay there.

It's not going to matter to the fans in Atlanta, who thought maybe they could keep the Georgia Tech product but shortly realized no, wasn't gonna happen.

It's not going to matter to the fans in Anaheim, who loved having Teixeira around for a couple of months in 2008, only to see him jump to the hated Yankees.

I'm not saying those fans own the moral or intellectual high ground. But that is how they feel, and Teixeira switching agents in 2011 isn't going to impact their impression of him.

--A.J. Burnett is working on his mechanics. The question is, will he be able to retain the information and execute Larry Rothschild's lessons when it's the sixth inning of a close game against the Red Sox, with runners on base?

--Francisco Cervelli suffered another spring-training injury.

--Erik Boland spoke with a mixed martial arts fighter who went to high school with CC Sabathia.

--Back over to the Mets, Carlos Beltran will make his Grapefruit League debut Sunday.

--David Lennon spoke with Francisco Rodriguez's agent about K-Rod's huge vesting option for 2012.

--Good column by Bob Klapisch on Jose Reyes, who almost certainly won't be a Met in 2012 and very well might not make it through the season in Flushing.

--Jonathan Papelbon plans on using his slider more this year. Likewise, I plan on using Twitter more this year to find stories like this.

--Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez had to be separated during yesterday's Cactus League game against Milwaukee.

--Matt Cain, one of our reliably excellent pitchers from yesterday's post, has right elbow inflammation. Thanks to Buster Olney's blog for the link.

--Another giveaway contest today. It's a good one. At least, I think it is.

 

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