Meet the Moneyball Mets

Fred Wilpon, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York Mets, center, and Saul Katz, left, speak to the media outside of federal court in New York. Photograph by Peter Foley/Bloomberg

For a normal baseball team, agreeing to pay a $162 million settlement to the trustee for victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in history counts as bad news. That’s enough money, after all, to cover last year’s payroll at every club except for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. But this is the New York Mets. And the news that Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, and the rest of the team’s ownership have settled with Madoff liquidator Irving Picard is a very good thing. To begin with, $162 million is a lot less than the $386 million that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff put on the line at a trial that had been scheduled to begin today. Not to mention, Wilpon and Katz avoid the tabloid circus the trial inevitably would have become. Plus, they have five years to pay and can use their net losses in the Madoff scheme toward most (if not all) of their tab. Yes, the Mets are still short on cash—and still paying off a $40 million loan from Bank of America and a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball. But now, at least they know just how strapped they are and can go about trying to build a team with what they have left.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.