Alex Rodriguez, if he’s going toe to toe with SEC fraud king Steve Cohen, looks like a saint. But MLB owners have reason to worry about A-Rod.
The Alex Rodriguez team remains a formidable entry in the bidding to purchase the New York Mets. Depending on which report you read, his conglomerate may or may not be the clear favorite to win the race when final bids are submitted no later than August 31.
But more and more, it appears that Alex Rodriguez, if MLB grants him the privilege, will own the Mets by default. And with that stain (I’ll explain), Rodriguez will remain under the watchful eyes of MLB for years to come.
But first, why the win by default?
Past Sins Yet To Be Forgiven
If you carefully read the details of Steve Cohen’s SEC fraud complaint, it quickly becomes apparent the charges against him are of epic proportions, even within the world of white-collar crime.
His old firm SAC Capital paid $1.8 billion in fines and settlements, pleaded guilty to insider trading, and was shut down.
At the same time, he faced a two-year suspension from managing outside money on civil charges of failing to supervise people who did. (New York Post)
If allowed to purchase the Mets with his remaining tainted billions, MLB owners will need to overlook his past misdeeds. In doing so, whether real or not, they become complicit in granting Cohen a “pardon.”
Any cooperation of this kind is not what Major League Baseball is looking for or needs, especially in the face of the challenges brought on by its attempt to carry out a season amid a pandemic, and all its revenue-related issues.
And that doesn’t even get to recent charges of a cesspool of misogamy charges currently in the courts’ by three of his former employees.
Alex Rodriguez In The Line Of Fire
Now, what is the link that puts Alex Rodriguez on the same page as Cohen in the eyes of MLB owners?
At first glance, most would point to A-Rod’s one-year suspension from baseball for his misdeeds during baseball’s Steroid Era.
Minus the more grievous taint on Cohen’s character, that alone would be enough for MLB owners to discount Alex Rodriguez. Thus, a choice between the two leaves A-Rod as the winner by default.
Bit, Alex Rodriguez, character questions aside, is not yet out of the woods with MLB owners.
Alex Rodriguez: The Cruz Of His Problem
The issue Alex Rodriguez cannot escape is that his team of investors will be tapped out if and when the sale is approved in their favor, a scenario that is due to make MLB cringe.
Ironically, it’s the shadow of Derek Jeter that still follows Alex Rodriguez after all these years, and all it should take is to recall the events immediately following Jeter and Co.’s purchase of the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion.
Readers will recall the firesale that came almost immediately followed Jeter’s four percent investment in the Marlins to offset payroll.
Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon – all past or current All-Stars – were dispatched to other teams. High paid coaches and front office personnel were given two weeks’ notice and sent on their way. MLB cringed.
This is what happens when a team is bought on a shoestring, and there is the lingering debt brought on by the previous franchise owners to overcome – before – you can set sail to do the things you set out to accomplish in the first place.
Alex Rodriguez: MLB Owners Need To Know…
A valid question to ask of Alex Rodriguez (then) is this.
Where is all the money going to come from – in the initial phases of control?
Directly down the road, a new Mets owner will need to satisfy the future contracts of Mets stars like Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis.
All of whom are due to expand their salaries in arbitration, and eventually, when they reach free agency?
Alex Rodriguez has a good relationship with J.P. Morgan, but as far as I know, they have no interest in owning a ballclub. They are a bank that Rodriguez has borrowed from to augment his bid, but at some point, these loans will come due.
How much Vitaminwater will Mike Repole, one of Alex Rodriguez’s significant backers, need to sell to support the needs of what should be a thriving and winning New York City ballclub?
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who’s The Fairest Of Them All
So, does it all evaporate into a choice between two evils that MLB owners will need to face?
The betting still favors Alex Rodriguez and Co., but only because there is more considerable hostility towards Steve Cohen that dates back to his failed attempt to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has enormous powers over individual owners once a sale is finalized.
It isn’t easy to imagine he will withstand a firesale of the kind we saw in Miami with the Mets.
Still, for Alex Rodriguez, a win by default is a win. His plea, for now, is the standard one – give us a chance – we can do this.
Is he a risk worth taking for MLB owners? Soon, we will know.