Sale of team not getting in way of Mets' goal

September 15th, 2020

Like most with a vested interest in the team’s long-term fortunes, Mets players and coaches made note of the team’s Monday announcement that the Wilpon family has agreed to sell a majority stake of the club to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

Then they returned to the business of trying to make a late rally toward a playoff spot, understanding that the ownership change, which is pending approval of at least 23 other Major League Baseball owners, will not imminently affect them.

“That kind of goes into next year,” outfielder said. “Right now, we’re just focused on this year and getting to the playoffs. That’s first and foremost.”

No one from the Mets’ ownership or front office groups has spoken publicly on the sale process, outside of a brief statement from the Wilpon family (through the Mets’ parent company, Sterling Partners) on Monday afternoon.

“What I can say is that everyone here is aware of what’s going on, and what took place [Monday],” manager Luis Rojas said. “But right now, our focus is on the field. Our focus is on today. As you run into this type of news, your focus has got to go back into what we need to do.”

Longer-term, the ownership change could have significant impact on players like McNeil. Current Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon have been reticent to discuss contract extensions for many homegrown players in the past, but Cohen might be more amenable to pursuing long-term deals with players such as McNeil, and others. He also might spend more freely in free agency, or in any number of in-house departments.

He also might not. Much remains unknown about what Cohen’s stewardship will entail, except for the fact that until the change becomes official, it won’t affect the Mets or their players.

“I think people are aware of it, but it’s not anything we’re ever really talking about,” McNeil said. “People in the clubhouse are focused on the game.”

From the trainer’s room

The Mets still have no timeline for catcher Tomás Nido to return to their active roster. Nido, who has been on the injured list since the club returned from its COVID-19 hiatus late last month, has been working out at the team’s alternate training site in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the past 10 days. But his return does not appear imminent, if it happens at all this season.

Nido seemed to be on the verge of a potential breakout before departing due to an undisclosed issue, batting .292 with two home runs and a .929 OPS in seven games. But the Mets traded for Robinson Chirinos in his absence and have been splitting catching reps between Chirinos and Wilson Ramos since that time. Nido is out of Minor League options.