How much did Mets owner Fred Wilpon know about Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, and how can he prove it?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Howard Megdal is the Lead Writer for the LoHud Mets Blog and Writer At Large for Capital New York. He covers baseball, basketball, and soccer for these and numerous other publications. His new book, Wilpon's Folly, from which much of the following text was drawn, is available as an e-book at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Follow the LoHud Mets Blog on Twitter @lohudmets. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardMegdal.
Is Mets owner Fred Wilpon really prepared to cut off his nose to spite the Madoff trustee's face?
Was it really only six months ago that Mets fans were hailing the arrival of Sandy Alderson as putting an end to one of the grimmest eras in a team history full of grimmage? Finally, the Omar Minaya epoch was at an end, and with it the days of throwing money at Oliver Perezes and Luis Castillos; from now on, the Mets could spend their cash reserves wisely, and leverage their big media market and their core of young(ish) talent to bring October baseball back to Flushing.
That plan essentially went out the window on the February day when Irving Picard, the trustee for the former clients of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, announced that he was suing Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz for $1 billion, on the grounds that they knew—or should have known—that his investment empire was built on fraud. As I wrote at the time, this shouldn't have had much impact on the Mets' finances—the team was still in decent financial shape, after all (even after a big dip in value, still the fifth-most valuable franchise in baseball, according to Forbes, with net profits over the last five years of more than $100 million)—and however the suit is resolved, it shouldn't hamstring the team's finances: Either the Wilpons would successfully fight off Picard's suit, in which case the threat was moot, or they'd lose, in which case they'd inevitably have to sell the team to pay the fine, and the question of whether or not to re-sign Jose Reyes would be a question for Mark Cuban, or a Dolan to be named later.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Scouts talk about NL players who could surprise, Mets owner Fred Wilpon hopes for better days in 2010, and other notes from around the majors.
Readers of this site have certainly been hit with much prognostic information with the release of the PECOTA projections and the refinements since the original numbers were published a few weeks back. Thus, you probably have a pretty good idea by now of who the system believes is going to improve this season, who is going to take a step backward and who will post statistics similar to their 2009 totals.
The AL West's top contender didn't sit still this winter, while the D'backs, Mets, and Mariners are all raising the stakes.
Simply put, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim just don't have the appeal of the American League's other top teams. The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champions. The Cleveland Indians are the scrappy team that pushed the champs to the brink last season before losing in seven games in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees have a modern-day murderer's row in their lineup, while the Tigers have one to match after trading for Miguel Cabrera in the offseason.