According to Fortune, the team’s debt is close to $625 million, which is nearly $200 million higher than what has been previously reported.
About $100 million of the additional liabilities includes money they Mets still owe to former players. This includes Bobby Bonilla, who is still owed $1.2 million per year through 2035 and Bret Saberhagen, who will receive $250,000 a year through 2029.
This news comes on the heels of the report that Major League Baseball gave the Mets a $25 million bailout and the Wilpon Family is now looking to sell 49 per cent of the team, up from the 25 per cent that was being offered previously.
The team has been forced to open up their books to those potential investors and the situation is even more dire than most people realised.
There has been a lot of speculation that the Wilpons will eventually be forced to sell their entire stake in the financially troubled franchise. And with the lawsuit from the Madoff scandal still looming, that appears to be the direction that this mess is heading.
If the Mets can somehow find a way to right the ship and retain 51 per cent of the team, it is hard to imagine that anybody would make what could be a $500 million investment in the team without some guarantee that they will assume control of the franchise in the future.
Unlike the Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt, Major League Baseball appears intent on giving the Wilpons every chance to make this work. But with the writing on the wall, Bud Selig and company have already discussed at least one contingency plan that would lead to a transfer of ownership to Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg.
The Mets financial crisis has been a mess from the beginning. And these new developments suggest that the situation is going to continue to get worse. And for the Wilpons, they may never get better.