New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz reportedly had $US500 million invested with Bernie Madoff that disappeared when the Ponzi scheme collapsed. In addition, the owners had taken out loans using the Madoff investments as collateral, leaving the team heavily in debt. The owners were also sued by the trustee for the Madoff victims and eventually settled the claims for $US162 million.
In his book that came out earlier this year, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson admitted that when details of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme became public he realised that would have an impact on what the Mets would be able to spend on the field. The result was that the Mets’ payroll went way down, from more than $US140 million in 2011 to less than $US95 million in 2012 and $US85 million in 2014 at a time when MLB salaries were skyrocketing.
However, that trend has started to reverse with payroll above $US100 million this season. Even more promising was the trade deadline. Despite concerns that the team would balk at adding payroll because of their financial situation, the team traded for Yoenis Cespedes and were willing to pay the $US3.7 million remaining on his contract for this season. The Mets still have a below-average payroll, but this is a sign the team is finally getting back on its financial feet.
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