Alex Rodriguez says we wuz robbed, and he’s not gonna take it anymore. Setting the stage for a lawsuit, A-Rod claims the sale was “fixed”.
Alex Rodriguez issued a bombshell charge leaving no doubt in his mind that the sale of the Mets was rigged in favor of Steve Cohen from the get-go. And you know what? He may be right.
In what is bound to be one of those he said, they said cases with mountains of circumstantial evidence, Rodriguez stunningly suggests that his conglomerate’s final bid was $50 million higher than Steve Cohen’s purported bid of $2.35 billion.
Rodriguez argues he was the victim of misplaced trust when Mets’ banker, Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., asked for a sneak peek at what Rodriguez was offering.
A-Rod granted the request, which came three days before final bids were due last Monday.
Rodriguez Makes His Case
The inference is that Greenberg worked behind the scenes to give Cohen advance notice, a practice Cohen (insider trading) is more than familiar with, and dating back to 2012 when Cohen’s firm was hit with massive fines and suspension of operations levied in federal courts.
The team of Rodriguez and his backers believed their bid was sufficient enough to win the bidding, but that Cohen was prepared to offer a significant sum well beyond what the A-Rod team could raise.
Given those circumstances, the J-Rod conglomerate decided to fold their tent, withdrawing from the bidding, which was announced on social media by Jennifer Lopez, A-Rod’s fiance.
Somewhere in between, Steve Cohen was granted “exclusive rights” to negotiate the final terms of the sale with Saul Katz, a Mets principal owner partnered with Fred Wilpon.
For reasons that may never be known, it’s been assumed that Fred Wilpon favored Steve Cohen from the beginning days of the bidding, mainly because he felt Cohen had the deepest pockets. Therefore Cohen could quickly raise the ante again and again.
Given the financial mess the Mets are currently in, with widespread bank loans, debt on Citi Field, revenue losses of $100 million in 2019, plus unknown revenue losses stemming from this year’s shortened season with no fans, every dollar from the sale counts.
Mets Sale: A Choice Between The Lesser Of Two Evils?
Wide-open to sour grapes charges, Rodriguez, who has character and integrity issues of his dating back to the Steroid Era in baseball, could find himself embroiled in a war with Cohen over who’s the lesser of two evils in the court of public opinion.
No matter what terms are worked out between him and the Mets, Steve Cohen’s path to finalizing the sale faces a challenging ride through a vote by MLB’s team owners to approve the deal.
Ownership of a major league franchise belongs to an exclusive club, and membership is closely guarded.
Cohen already has one strike call on him by the owners in 2011 when he was rejected in a bid to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers.
J-Lo Grabs A Bat
A preview of what may have gnawed at Rodriguez can be seen in the statement on her social media accounts, in which J-Lo seemingly speaks from the heart:
“Alex and I are so disappointed!!” was the message posted by Lopez, whose group had planned to submit another offer for the team by Monday. “We worked so hard the past six months with the dream of becoming the first minority couple and the first woman owner to buy her father’s favorite Major League Baseball team with her own hard-earned money. We still haven’t given up!! #NYForever.”
The duo did indeed work hard to gain backers, even to the extent of rounding up investors among NFL and NBA players, at times with sums of $10,000 and $25,000 meager additions to the kitty.
Derek Jeter’s Marlins: Please Do Not Repeat
While that adds to their credibility as being serious in wanting to own a ballclub, whereas Steve Cohen is open to charges of going to the store to buy another toy, their efforts can work against them as well
Ironically, the fact that it appears the A-Rod team is “tapped out” gives pause to MLB and its owners.
MLB will not want a reprise of the “Derek Jeter Experience” when he and his investors conducted a fire sale of players they couldn’t afford to pay.
Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, and other All-Star caliber players were traded in a matter of months – reducing the Miami Marlins to a Triple-A team thrust into that awful “rebuilding” mode.
Can Rodriguez Keep The Fire Burning?
In any event, the trick for Alex Rodriguez now is to make it beyond the 24-hour news cycle, as well as to supply more detail to his charges.
Versus Steve Cohen, who has all of the characteristics of an obnoxious self-made billionaire, the J-Rod team will win any head-to-head popularity contest.
Working against Rodriguez, though, is the stash of cash that drives Mets fans delirious with visions of a George Steinbrenner raid on expensive free agents by Cohen.
If you are tempted to say as I am that when it comes to the Mets, you can’t make this stuff up, and we can tack this on to the litany of dysfunction in a franchise that can’t even conduct a sale of itself without controversy seeping in.