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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Articles tagged: New York Mets

Mets players have heard conflicting stories on Yoenis Cespedes opt-out

The confusion surrounding Yoenis Cespedes’ decision to opt out of the 2020 season apparently extends to New York Mets players as well.

Cespedes opted out of the 2020 season on Sunday, but the story that came out was that the Mets were only informed during their game after the outfielder didn’t show up and didn’t make any contact with the organization. That’s one story the Mets have heard, but according to Brandon Nimmo, they’ve also heard that Cespedes’ agents informed the Mets of the outfielder’s intentions before the game Sunday.

While the players aren’t really owed a direct explanation, it’s not a great look for them to be left unsure a day after one of the team’s key players opted out. The stories are also radically different — one makes Cespedes look bad, and one makes the Mets look incompetent.

One thing that does seem clear is that Cespedes had reasons other than COVID-19 concerns that contributed to his decision to end his season early.

Yoenis Cespedes completely ditched Mets before opting out of season

Yoenis Cespedes was unexpectedly absent from the New York Mets’ game against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, and that is because the veteran slugger has decided he no longer wants to play this season.

Following the his team’s 4-0 loss to the Braves, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Cespedes is opting out due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Van Wagenen said the Mets will support Cespedes’ decision but that the team was “without question” surprised. Cespedes obviously gave no indication that he was considering opting out prior to Sunday, as he simply did not show up to Truist Park in Atlanta. The Mets even sent security to Cespedes’ hotel room and learned that he had packed up all of his belongings and left.

Cespedes hit two home runs in eight games this season and appeared healthy coming off a broken ankle and multiple heel surgeries. Sunday was not the first time a player went missing without the Mets knowing his whereabouts, though the circumstances were much different the last time.

Report: Mets believe Yoenis Cespedes is safe

Yoenis Cespedes went AWOL on Sunday and did not inform the New York Mets of his whereabouts, but the team is apparently confident that there is no need to be concerned for the slugger’s health or safety.

The Mets have been given reason to believe Cespedes is safe, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.

It is unusual that the Mets know Cespedes is safe but have no idea why he did not report for Sunday’s game against the Braves, so it’s possible the team knows more than it is willing to disclose at this point.

Cespedes played both Friday and Sunday in Atlanta. The 34-year-old has two home runs in eight games this season despite coming off a fractured ankle and multiple heel surgeries.

This is not the first time the Mets have had a player go AWOL, as Matt Harvey no-showed a few years ago and the team sent security to look for him. Harvey ended up getting suspended, which made sense given the reasons for his absence.

Report: Alex Rodriguez’s group still in running to buy Mets

Alex Rodriguez

There has been a lot of talk about Alex Rodriguez and his bidding group for the New York Mets potentially being overpowered by their billionaire competitors, but apparently A-Rod and his fiancee Jennifer Lopez are still very much in the running to buy the franchise.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported on Monday that the bidding for the Mets still involves at least three groups, and the one led by Rodriguez and Lopez is one of them.

A-Rod and J-Lo have some steep competition. Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who had a deal in place with Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon that fell apart back in February, is still considered by many to be the favorite. Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the firm that owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, is also a finalist. However, Rodriguez and Lopez have plenty of backers with deep pockets.

Cohen has reportedly bid $2 billion for the Mets and another $2 billion for their TV network, SNY. A-Rod and J-Lo have put together a diverse group that features a number of current and former star athletes, but they may have trouble raising the cash that their competitors can more easily pull together.

Report: Mets bidding coming down to Steve Cohen, Harris Blitzer

New York Mets

The New York Mets were criticized for allowing their deal with Steve Cohen to fall apart earlier this year, but that may have resulted in them creating a bidding war between the hedge fund manager and other billionaires.

Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon received their first round of bids for the franchise last week, and Charles Gasparino of FOX Business Network reports that the belief is that Cohen and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment are the finalists.

In addition to the Mets, Cohen also wants to buy SNY, which is the network the team owns. The Mets have said for the time being that the network is not for sale, but that could change.

Gasparino also reported that Cohen is concerned MLB owners may block his attempt to buy the team because of a past association he had with insider trading, but executives around baseball do not believe that will be an issue.

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment is run by billionaires David Blitzer and Josh Harris. The group also owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding sports leagues due to the coronavirus and their previous botched deal with Cohen, the Mets appear to be in a position of strength. Multiple billionaires are bidding for the team, with a casino mogul recently getting involved as well. Another group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez also wants to buy the team, though there are questions about whether or not they can raise enough cash.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson joins in on Mets bidding

New York Mets

Steve Cohen has been viewed as the favorite to purchase the New York Mets, but a Las Vegas casino mogul could wind up standing in the way of the hedge fund billionaire.

According to a report from Thornton McEnery of the New York Post, Sheldon Adelson and his private equity firm Silver Lake Partners* have joined a group bidding on the Mets that is led Josh Harris and David Blitzer. Harris and Blitzer already own the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

Adelson, 86, is worth an estimated $30 billion, while Harris and Blitzer are worth more than $5 billion combined. The group should have no issue raising the funds needed to purchase the Mets, though Adelson’s status as a somewhat controversial figure from the casino world could make it more difficult for him to gain approval from MLB owners. If he’s only a limited partner, he could purchase a stake in the team without needing approval from the league.

Adelson was part of talks to fund the Raiders stadium in Las Vegas a few years back, but that deal ultimately never went through.

Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon received their initial round of bids last week. Cohen had a deal to buy an 80 percent stake in the team at a valuation of $2.6 billion back in February, but the deal fell apart. He is still considered a front-runner, however, along with the group led by Alex Rodriguez and his fiancee Jennifer Lopez.

*Silver Lake Partners sent a statement to Larry Brown Sports denying involvement in the bid: “Any claim that Silver Lake is making or joining a bid for the NY Mets is entirely false and inaccurate,” the statement said.

Alex Rodriguez and Steve Cohen reportedly advance to second round of Mets bidding

New York Mets

Alex Rodriguez is still in the running to purchase the New York Mets.

Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s group is among four to advance to a second round of bidding on the Mets, according to Scott Soshnick of Sportico. Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has advanced as well, as has a group led by New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris. The fourth group has yet to be identified.

Cohen bid $2 billion for the team and another $2 billion for SNY, the team’s regional sports network. He and other groups were told not to submit any further bids for SNY, as the network is not for sale.

At least five groups are said to have submitted initial offers, meaning at least one potential buyer has already been eliminated in the preliminary process.

None of this is particularly surprising. These groups generally made high-profile bids and are either billionaires or backed by billionaires. Rodriguez and J-Lo may be the most famous names involved in the bidding, but Cohen is still said to be the favorite to get something done after a previous agreement with current Mets ownership fell through earlier in the year.