Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets addresses the media during spring training at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Mets Owner Fred Wilpon Criticizes Jose Reyes, David Wright, Others

Jeffrey Toobin wrote up a lengthy feature on Mets owner Fred Wilpon in the New Yorker, and the profile has caused a stir due to some of the remarks Wilpon made about his own team and players.

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Fred Wilpon Says Mets Are 'Bleeding Cash'

According to an article in Tuesday's New York Daily News, the New York Mets are "bleeding cash" and may lose up to $70 million this year. Details are to be published in an article in this week's Sports Illustrated.

The article goes on to say that there was even more connection between owner Fred Wilpon and convicted financier Bernie Madoff than was reported in the New Yorker article about Wilpon this week:

SI also reports that the Mets turned to Madoff to help them get rid of outfielder Bobby Bonilla, a clubhouse malcontent, after the 1999 season. If the team released Bonilla, it would have had to pay him $5.9 million for the 2000 season. Mets officials instead offered to pay Bonilla nearly $1.2 million per year for 25 years, for a total of $29.8 million, beginning this July. The payments to Bonilla were based on an interest rate of 8%; the Mets planned on investing the Bonilla money with Madoff, whom they expected would give them a 10% to 12% return.

Further, Wilpon told Sports Illustrated that a minority share in the Mets might be sold for as much as $200 million and might be announced within the next three weeks.

The New York Daily News article ends with an unintentionally funny ad placement. Just below the final paragraph of the actual article, there is a link to an external site with the text: "Buy Mets Tickets". Mets attendance is down over 13% from 2010 -- they could use the help.


New York Mets' David Wright Responds To Fred Wilpon Critique

The New York Mets and principal owner Fred Wilpon are all over the news Monday, thanks to a few choice remarks Wilpon made about his team in a lengthy profile, written by Jeffrey Toobin, in the New Yorker. Wilpon criticized shortstop Jose Reyes, he criticized outfielder Carlos Beltran, and he criticized third baseman David Wright, saying that Wright is "a very good player" but "not a superstar."

It's maybe not the harshest or even the most unfair criticism of a baseball player ever made, but it's the sort of thing you expect to hear from a fan in the bleachers, not the team's owner. Via Andy Martino, we get Wright's reply:

Email from Wright: "Fred is a good man and is obviously going through some difficult times. There is nothing more productive that I can say at this point."

Not a bad approach on Wright's part, and Amazin' Avenue takes a minute to recognize his class. There's no need for Wright to get caught up in this when he has other, more important things to worry about.

Meanwhile, Mets manager Terry Collins declined to comment at all. Also a good approach. The whole Wilpon/Madoff mess will forever be a source of drama until it's resolved, but the team's actual players and coaches seem insistent on focusing on the task at hand, which is trying to remain relevant in the NL playoff race.


Mets Owner Fred Wilpon Rips Jose Reyes, David Wright, Others

The New York Mets have been in turmoil for several seasons; blown playoff spots in 2007 and 2008 led to losing seasons the last two years and they're treading water one game under .500 so far in 2011.

Today, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon made blunt criticism of several of his players in an article in the new issue of the New Yorker magazine by Jeffrey Toobin, out today.

SB Nation New York summarizes Wilpon's comments on three of his star players, Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran:

On Reyes:

"He thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money. He's had everything wrong with him. He won't get it."

On Wright:

"Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."

On Beltran:

"We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He's sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was."

The article also has some comments on the controversy surrounding Wilpon's involvement in convicted financier Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme; according to ESPN New York, Madoff made comments trying to absolve Wilpon of guilt:

Madoff then offers Wilpon endorsements in the article, trying to absolve the Mets ownership family of knowledge of the Ponzi scheme.

The disgraced Madoff wrote Toobin in an email: "Fred was not [at] all stock market savvy and [brother-in-law] Saul [Katz] was not really either. They were strictly Real Estate people. Although I explained the Strategy to them they were not sophisticated enough to evaluate it properly, nor were most of my other individual clients. They were not in a position to perform the necessary due diligence and did not have access to necessary financial info or records."

What a mess. Baseball Nation and SB Nation New York will continue to update this story.

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