Fred Wilpon: We Intend To Own Mets ‘For A Very Long Time’

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Embattled Mets owner Fred Wilpon says he’s ready to hunker down in Flushing.

Wilpon fielded questions Monday for over 20 minutes from the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He touched on everything from the departure of Jose Reyes to the finances of his cash-strapped franchise.

“As long as I can, I plan to be the owner here,” Wilpon told reporters.

The Mets have have money in escrow for seven minority shares at $20 million apiece, Wilpon confirmed. He said there are two more “almost” ready for Major League Baseball to finalize and “a couple others that are in the process.”

“If nothing falls out right now, we have more than 10,” said Wilpon. “But you never know. We probably would consider selling 12, because we bought the first two.”

According to Wilpon, Mets fans “shouldn’t be concerned” about majority control “because we intend to own the franchise for a very long time.”

Whether they’re happy about that right now or not, I don’t know,” he said.

Wilpon, his son Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz could face a potentially damaging lawsuit this month brought by the trustee looking to recover money from the victims of Bernard Madoff.

“I’m OK. I’ve got fives,” Wilpon said as pulled a roll of money from his pocket. ” No, we’re OK. I can’t talk about anything like that in detail. I can’t talk about the lawsuit.”

In December, the Mets let Reyes, their All-Star shortstop, walk for $106 million over six seasons with the Miami Marlins. That — along with Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez off the books — contributed to the millions general manager Sandy Alderson was able to cut in payroll this offseason.

“I was tired of throwing money at something and not getting success,” Wilpon said.

Reyes never received a formal offer from the Mets, who were scared to give a long-term contract to the fragile leadoff man.

“It was clearly a baseball decision,” said Wilpon. “Are we a little leery of six-year, seven-year, eight-year contracts? Yes. Is Sandy leery of it? You bet. I’m big-time leery of it. So, listen, others have done it. I don’t want to criticize anybody else whose done something different. We did different also, and we were burned. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some player in the future that we think we would do something with longer term, but the history has not been very good.”

The focus this year will be on the future of Wright. Will the face of the franchise receive a big-money extension to stay in New York — or will he be traded for prospects?

“My intention is always to follow … the baseball people,” Wilpon said. “If it works out I would be thrilled. I think there’s no finer guy. He’s just a very fine young man. Any of us who are old enough to have him as a son would be proud to have him as a son.”

Manager Terry Collins said last week that he expects the Mets to surprise their critics. Wilpon also feels good about his team’s chances.

He just hopes it’s enough to lure the fans back to Queens.

“We’ve got to win the fans back,” Wilpon said. “Strike that, we’ve got to win the fans and customers back. They love coming to Citi Field. But we have a diminished population coming to Citi Field. We need that revenue. We just can’t do it on air, we need that revenue to support and the only way we’re going to get that revenue is if we have a competitive, interesting team on the field. Otherwise, they’re not going to come just because they love Citi Field.

“And so we’re hoping to do that. And we’re hoping that trend starts the other direction this year.”

What do you make of Wilpon’s comments? Sound off below!

  • MetFan4Life

    I do have to agree with Grote, though – this team does have a lot of good young players. If everyone pulls their weight and stays healthy, good things can happen. Plus, who knows? Maybe now that Freddie has a few bucks in his pocket he will part with a couple to add someone at the deadline.

  • Yankees Fan

    The sad fact of reality that all Mets need to wrap their heads around is that the Wilpons and Co. don’t give a sh** about baseball, winning championships, their players only if they put paying fannies in the seats, certainly not their fans or anything else remotely related. The one and only one thing they care about is: money and making boatoads of it. And the greatest fallacy that ever happened is when it was finally revealed that their $1 million investment reaped $400+ million in returns at the very capable and criminal hands of Bernie Madoff, they used to run their franchise. The Mets owners are thieves, and thieves don’t give a “F” about you, they only give a “F” about themselves and money. Period.

  • Jay Mani

    Bad News For All Met fans, Past, present and Future. The Wilpons are a disgrace not only to the Mets and NYC, but to the country as a whole.

    • FYI

      Mets fans are a joke. You think outside of NYC people gives a sh** about the Wilpons, the Mets & Mets fans.

      Give real dude. The Mets are not even important in Queens. There are more important things going on in this country then what is happening to the sad sack Mets.

  • HY


  • Earl

    I have been a 15 years Sunday plan holder and its getting tough to hold in.I can somewhat understand getting rid of Reyes do to injuries and not wanting to sign him to a 6 year contract but they could have spent the money on more pitching.If they let Wright go it may be the final straw.My problem with Reyes is if they where not going to sign him I don’t understand why they didn’t trade him.I think the Wilpons have made a good choice in Sandy, but my concern is the money that Sandy will need to bring this club back.As a baseball fan I have to have some optimism, If things break right for the Mets and thats a big if, I do think they could compete for the wild card, but I have to think this way otherwise it will be hard to get threw the season. The one thing I know is they start out in first place atleast for a day.Its a new season. The Wilpons in fairness have spent the money over the years just not wisely, hope is that Sandy can change that. Lets Go Mets !

  • Brian Stark

    Fred, you are a tool. If you really have no clue that 90% of Mets fans HATE YOUR GUTS, well, not only are you a fool, you are delusional as well.

  • grote32162

    Fellow Mets fans: Stop all this negativity! Look at our past. We survived M. Donald Grant, the loss of Seaver, and we will survive the Omar Minaya era. Sandy Alderson is a solid baseball man and the Wilpons know that to compete in NY they can play “Moneyball” only minimally and temporarily – until this financial cloud passes. That can happen next month if the case against them proves to have little or no merit. They have also recently raised close to about $200M! The franchise has unlimited value, and we will exceed expectations if our luck with injuries can finally change. Keep the faith Met fans. Reyes will undoubtedly continue to have injuries and Beltran was the greatest bust since Bobby Bonilla. Our younger players can do it!!!

    • ..

      and let’s remember Mets fans, it’s not a lie, if you believe it. LOL,LOL

  • Cram

    I cant stomach the Wilpons!! I gave up basketball during the Isiah Thomas era so shall i give up baseball!

    I will say to all Mets fans do not lose heart cause I really think Sandy Alderson is the best of the best!! And he will turn this ball club around sadly it wont be in the next 2 years!!
    With that said hopefully Mets fans will continue to show their disgust for the current ownership and make a statement that this is unacceptable!!

  • m cohen

    there is a special place in hell for the wilpons and the seligs.

  • Brett

    He said that he needs to get fans back, maybe Reyes would have helped, and maybe CJ Wilson would have helped maybe it is about spending money to make money

    they are cheap and they try to figure out why we are not comeing, I went to maybe 10 games last year, this year 1 game, for my son, I am not spending when they do not care about me

  • donnab40

    What an ass to say he doesn’t know if Mets fans want him to stay or not! Like he’s not reading the papers, watching the news, or sports shows or even on hear reading what the Mets fans really think of him. If not which I highly doubt, then someone should show it to him.

  • Sev

    Wilpon as a 50 year fan of The new York Mets I will say only four words…. You Turn My Stomach….. One More Word…… SELL

  • Edward Woods

    If you love the Mets, don’t go to the games. It is the only way to drive this greedy self centered man away from the Mets. There will be no joy in mudville until he is gone.

  • LOL

    If Mets fans really thought this man would sell his team it was wishful thinking. LOL

    It’s comical in fact that the Mets fans dreamed for Wilpon to sell and go away. Well, that is not happening. It will be many more years of suffering for Mets fans.

    Life could not be sweeter as Mets fans continue to watch the Yankees, Phillies & Braves win divisions & titles. LOL

  • pete

    how about lowering ticket prices to reasonable price ranges like, say, the phillies? i’m not spending $0- per ticket to sit field and i don’t want to sit in nose bleds for $14. i want reasonable prices like Shea had. difficult? ask Philly…

    • donnab40

      You can’t compare Citifield to Philly. Have you been to CitiField? I think it’s worth the price for the seats. We sat in great seats not the nose bleed sections every game that we went to last season. Where we sat in Shea-the nose bleed section. It’s a new stadium & if you want good seats your going to pay the price. Oh & boy the way before you say that I can afford those seats-We live on one pay check & we live paycheck to paycheck but I’m not going to deprive myself of having a good day at the ballpark. If you like Philly so much why not go to the games there?

  • Colin

    Is Fred that ignorant of the pulse of the fans…or that arrogant to pretend he doesn’t know?

    Is he that confident that his friendship with Bud Selig will shield him from being run out of New York?

    He did indeed show he knows the key to it all, he NEEDS fans to come to Citi Field, so maybe he’s not that out of it at that. All the fans have to do is stay away…

    • david vanschaick

      Stay away from Citi Field now and for as long as the Wilpons on this club! They are going to gut this team, to recoop the major loses because of Madoff! This 200 million dollars and 1o investors need to have their heads examined! You guys are giving these morons a bail-out! The fans mean while suffer! BOYCOTT!!!!!

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