Report: Alex Rodriguez, Steve Cohen Advance to 2nd Round of Bidding in Mets Sale

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2020

Alex Rodriguez attends the FOX 2019 Upfront party at Wollman Rink in Central Park on Monday, May 13, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Andy Kropa/Associated Press

Four prospective ownership groups have moved on to a second round of bidding for the New York Mets, according to Sportico's Scott Soshnick.

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez represents one of the groups still in the running.

Steve Cohen, who walked away from a deal to purchase the Mets in February, bid $2 billion in the opening round and made the cut.

The duo of Josh Harris and David Blitzer is also alive in the ownership sweepstakes. They could add the Mets to their stable of sports franchises that includes the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Crystal Palace FC.

According to Soshnick, Cohen also lodged a $2 billion bid for SportsNet New York, of which the Mets control a 65 percent stake. However, SNY isn't included in the sale of the Mets franchise.

The New York Post's Thornton McEnery reported on May 7 that Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez had dropped out of the hunt. McEnery followed up later that month to report that Rodriguez and Lopez were back in and "now working closely with very senior bankers at JPMorgan Chase on a new bid."

The fanbase would likely welcome a regime change given the longstanding criticism of the Wilpon family's spending—or lack thereof. After winning a National League pennant in 2015, the Mets ranked 14th, 15th, 12th and 12th in year-end 40-man payroll, per Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Given the Mets play in one of the world's biggest media markets, demanding a more sizable investment in the team is reasonable.

When the proposed sale to Cohen fell apart in February, McEnery reported Cohen was "deeply unhappy with the Wilpons changing the terms of the deal at a very late stage."

The sides had apparently agreed that Fred Wilpon (chief executive officer) and his son Jeff Wilpon (chief operating officer) would retain their current roles for five years after Cohen took over. The Wilpons then "pushed late to maintain some control of the franchise beyond the five-year window," according to McEnery.

Cohen's new $2 billion bid is below what Forbes' Mike Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen estimated the value of the Mets to be in April. They had the sixth-highest valuation in MLB at $2.4 billion, a 4 percent increase from 2019.

Soshnick reported Mets ownership is hopeful of finalizing a sale by the end of the year.