According to a report in the New York Times, Saul Katz, brother-in-law to Fred Wilpon and partial owner of Wilpon’s majority share of the Mets, is interested in selling his share of the team. The Times says that Katz
has grown tired of spending millions to prop it up, according to several people in baseball briefed on the matter.
But Katz has been hesitant to sell because it could result in Wilpon’s no longer maintaining majority control, according to the people familiar with Katz’s situation. This has created a situation in which Katz has been locked into subsidizing part of the team’s losses in an effort to protect Wilpon, who considers the team a family heirloom and wants his son Jeff to control it for years to come.
For Mets fans who have long fantasized about a change in ownership, this news is at once encouraging and frustrating. It sounds as if Wilpon may not be able to sustain the Mets on his own without Katz’s cash infusions, so if the latter is able to sell off his stake in the franchise Wilpon’s stake may follow shortly thereafter.
However, anyone willing to spend hundreds of millions on Katz’s portion of the Mets will doubtless want some decision-making authority or, at the very least, a straightforward path to that kind of power. If a prospective buyer would only pony up a small fortune to buy the club under those circumstances, Wilpon’s reluctance to let the team fall out of his family’s hands could severly limit Katz’s ability to entice suitors.
Nevertheless, this seems like good news for anyone hopeful that the Wilpons’ era of ownership is nearing its end.