Another Day, Another Fred Wilpon Interview

Wilpon tells magazine that the Mets are "bleeding cash"

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 10:45 AM EDT
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Another Day, Another Fred Wilpon Interview

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Mets owner Fred Wilpon

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There are certain people you expect to see popping up on every magazine on the newsstand during a given week.

Barack Obama is obviously one of them, and then you've got the Lady Gaga/Justin Bieber group of pop culture titans. Somewhere way down the list is Fred Wilpon, but this week we're learning another lesson in why you should never say never. 

The hubbub over his New Yorker interview hasn't even started to die down, but now Wilpon is making headlines all over again thanks to an interview he did with Sports Illustrated about the team's financial state.

In the interview, Wilpon tells Tom Verducci that the team is "bleeding cash" right now and stands to lose as much as $70 million this season. He also says that he's willing to settle the lawsuit with Madoff trustee Irving Picard, but that Picard is looking for more money than he is willing to pay up to make the problem go away.

That makes sense, since Picard has been finding success with other clawback actions to recover money associated with the Madoff mess. Wilpon keeps trying to change the story to what he knew, but the whole question has always been whether or not he should have known which is a far different burden of proof.

Wilpon, in what qualifies as good news given the trajectory of this week, says that he fears the lawsuit could ultimately cause him to lose control of the Mets. He also discusses the hoped-for $200 million infusion from a minority investor, but even that basically underscores the desperate straits the Wilpons are in right now.

All of that cash will be heading out the door almost immediately, leaving the team in the same dismal place they are in without any outside investment. Taken all together, it is a picture of an empire in its final days.

Against that backdrop, it really doesn't matter all that much what Wilpon has to say about Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright or anybody else. There were those that wanted to make the argument that Wilpon has crushed the trade market or that he's made it impossible to re-sign Reyes as a free agent.

If either of those things are true, they were true long before the New Yorker went to press. Teams losing $70 million in a year where they need to service $100 million or more in debt don't sign free agents for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Everyone in baseball knows this and they knew it long before Wilpon opened his mouth to either publication. The die has already been cast for the next steps in the Mets saga, which means that things were going to play out the same way whether Wilpon called Reyes a handsome man with numerous lovely qualities or not.

Spreadsheets never excite people as much as trash talk does, but they're almost always more meaningful. The 2011 Mets are not the exception to this rule.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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