Alderson gets down to business
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson appeared on FOX Business’s “After the Bell” this afternoon, answering questions on a variety of financial topics [Video here]. Here’s the full transcript, courtesy FOX Business:
LIZ CLAMAN, ANCHOR, AFTER THE BELL: The owners of the cash-strapped New York Mets getting a $40 million loan to help finance the team while they try to raise cash by selling minority stakes in the franchise.
And with the wounds of losing star player Jose Reyes to the Marlins earlier this month still somewhat fresh, we have the man who can tell us what this latest round of financing means for the future of the team. We’re proud to involve here New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, joining us now in a FOX Business exclusive.
Half this building are Mets fans. “How did you get Alderson?” And you’re here, but you’re here at a time where the word has come out that the team has taken a $40 million loan. First, I just want to clarify when was that loan taken out?
SANDY ALDERSON: I’m not sure exactly. I think it was sometime last month, about the time that the Major League baseball loan was extended. But as I said earlier, maybe a week or 10 days ago, the Mets lost a lot of money last year.
CLAMAN: $70 million.
ALDERSON: Yes, it’s not surprising to make up for those losses, either you put money in equity or you take out some additional loans. I think, in this case, a bridge (ph) loan was probably the right idea.
CLAMAN: And there was a $25 million loan last year. So the appropriate question really is to ask are the Mets financially sound, Sandy?
ALDERSON: Yes, I think with this infusion of cash, together with the possibility, I think the likelihood — strong likelihood in the next two or three months, that there will be additional investors in Mets’ ownership, that, you know, we should be good to go over the next couple of years.
CLAMAN: Well, you’re talking about minority stakes being parceled out. Are you close to announcing any kind of those deals?
ALDERSON: Well, I’m the general manager, which means that I focus all of my attention on the field, and I spend my time with the players and the team. So from that standpoint, I’m probably not the best spokesman, but as far as I understand, I think things are moving forward and expect a successful investment closure.
CLAMAN: Well, one of the big stories was that lost Jose Reyes, the very big player, to the Marlins, $106 million multiyear deal for him. First of all, did that surprise you, that amount of money being thrown around for a ball player at this point (ph)?
ALDERSON: No, not really. You know, what ends up happening is that different owners have different motivations, and in this particular case, they’re opening a new ballpark. And they expect or hope that their revenues will increase so they put a quality team on the field. So I’m not surprised they went after Jose.
CLAMAN: Well, you say you’re in charge of looking at everything that’s on the field. David Wright’s on the field. Will you fight to keep him, at least?
ALDERSON: Yes, I think David’s going to be with us for a while, so I wouldn’t worry about losing David and Jose in the same year.
CLAMAN: So, David Wright, probably staying?
ALDERSON: I think so.
CLAMAN: OK. And I know it’s inside baseball, so to speak, when you talk about the players. But this all leads to big questions that come out in that movie, “Moneyball,” for example, that you can build a winning team with less expensive players. I don’t want to say cheaper, but less expensive players.
Is that going to be what the Mets have to do?
ALDERSON: Well, I think, first of all, that “Moneyball” was about finding value. And whether that was finding value at lower prices, or finding value in players that command higher salaries, the same point is made. You know, we need to make good decisions with respect to players that don’t make a lot of money, but we need to make good decisions with respect to players who do.
And if we invest lots of money in high-salary players, we need to be right most of the time, just as we need to be right when we spend fewer dollars.
CLAMAN: Well, all of this money that’s thrown around tends to sometimes destabilize a team, because they don’t have enough money to actually run the operations, and people look at these loans that the Mets have taken out. And I think that there’s a fair question being thrown around, and that is are the Mets in peril of not meeting payroll?
ALDERSON: Oh, no. That’s not an issue.
CLAMAN: That is not an issue?
ALDERSON: No, absolutely…
CLAMAN: 100 percent?
CLAMAN: So you wouldn’t fall to the same fate of the L.A. Dodgers, where MLB had to come in and seize the team?
ALDERSON: No. I think that had to do with a completely different set of circumstances, where some of the money was being moved out of the franchise, and being used for other personal reasons. I think this is an entirely different situation.
But as I said, I think with the successful infusion of capital from new investors, you know, we’ll be in good shape.
CLAMAN: Is this the World Series team in 2012? Or is this a rebuilding year, as (inaudible)?
ALDERSON: Well, 2012, we won’t be favored in the National League East. The National League East is pretty stacked, and probably the toughest division in baseball at this point.
But we’re going to be fun to watch, and you know, the nice thing about baseball is that anything can happen. It’s not necessarily the highest payroll that wins. It’s very often somebody who’s put together a team, based on not just resources but also quality decisions. Teams like Tampa Bay are a good example of that, and certainly it can happen here, too.
CLAMAN: Well, FOX knows all about underdogs winning. So it can happen.
ALDERSON: All right.
CLAMAN: Sandy Alderson, the Mets general manager. Have a great season.
ALDERSON: All right. Thanks very much.
CLAMAN: Thank you very much. Oh, and by the way, David — spring training February 16th?
ALDERSON: 15th, 16th, yes.
CLAMAN: February 15th…
DAVID ASMAN, ANCHOR, AFTER THE BELL: … birthday, OK. And it has happened, by the way. I remember well the amazing Mets. They can do pretty much anything if they set their mind to it.
—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.