NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Here’s something that you don’t hear every day, or every year for that matter: The Mets’ owners have gained some financial relief.
According to the New York Post, owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have refinanced $450 million in loans that were borrowed against SportsNet New York, the cable network which airs the vast majority of Mets game throughout the season.
The exact financial terms were not learned, the newspaper reported, but some of that money is expected to be used for the club’s day-to-day operations.
And lord knows that the Mets could use some financial relief.
Things are looking up from a financial standpoint, however, as R.A. Dickey’s 2013 salary is off the books after the National League Cy Young Award winner was traded to Toronto. In addition, portions of David Wright’s contract were deferred after New York signed the face of the franchise to an eight-year, $138 million contract.
Portions of Jason Bay’s contract were deferred as well when general manager Sandy Alderson and the left fielder decided to part ways.
“The budget has been expanded,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on December 5. “We’re giving Sandy some more money to work with now that David is done and we did what we did with Jason Bay. He’s got some flexibility now to do some things, and we’re going to be competitive this year.”
Without getting into specific numbers, Wilpon said that Alderson knows the parameters, and the owners are keeping some cash in their “back pocket” for flexibility at the trade deadline.
The Mets settled their lawsuit last year brought by Irving Picard, the trustee representing the victims of Bernie Madoff. The club also received a cash infusion from the sale of multiple minority stakes at $20 million apiece.
But even with this apparent financial flexibility, Alderson hasn’t made any kind of splash this offseason (in terms of acquiring major league talent). He acquired top prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard and signed several minor league free agents, but has yet to sign any player to a major league deal this winter.
“We’ve been there, (and) we’re going to continue to be there,” said Wilpon. “I know there was a big drop-off last year. But we’re moving up this year, and I’m sure next year (we) might move up a little bit more.”
That is quite the understatement. A chunk of cash will come off the payroll after 2013, as Johan Santana’s bloated contract will expire and a good portion from Bay’s deal will come off the books.
Should the Mets go after one of the remaining impactful free agents, or should they save as much money as possible and attack the free-agent class after the 2013 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…