Steve Phillips On A-Rod, Jose Reyes, Madoff, and More

Steve Phillips

A-Rod Almost Signed with the Mets?

Sitting down with Steve Phillips gave us the opportunity to re-look at a major “What If?” for the New York Mets.

Imagine the 2011 Mets infield of Wright, A-Rod, and Reyes.  After expressing interest to play for the Mets in 2000, A Rod’s then-agent Scott Boras and Mets GM Steve Phillips discussed the possibility.  Before the numbers were even reached, Boras demanded these perks, amongst others, for A-Rod:          

  1. A tent in Spring Training for A-Rod Apparel and Merchandise.
  2. A personal suite in the stadium.
  3. A private office for his marketing representative to work during the day.
  4. Permission to use the team logo.

Phillips felt uncomfortable giving A-Rod such special attention.  He memorably, and regrettably, gave A-Rod the “24-plus-1” label that succinctly defined the divide that A-Rod’s contract could bring to the Mets and between other superstars such as Mike Piazza.

What is still debated, however, is as soon as Phillips heard about A-Rod’s demands, he pulled out faster than a snowman melts in July. The real “What if?” revolves around putting the contract on the table, and telling A-Rod to take it or leave it. What if Phillips had at least offered a 180 million dollar deal, with none of the perks? Would A-Rod have taken a pay and perk cut to play for a winning team that he loved ever since he was a child? We’ll never know for sure.

A-Rod signed with Texas for the memorable contract of 10 years at 252 million.  Why not $250 million? Because then it wouldn’t be exactly double the previous high contract in sports, a titled previously owned by Kevin Garnett at $126 million.

Jose Reyes

Under Steve Phillips, Jose Reyes was drafted and began what appears to be the start of a prolific career with the Mets. As Steve Phillips says, he is the “most exciting player in baseball.” The question is, will the Mets try and resign Reyes now before he hits free-agency, will they trade him to try and get something out of him, or do they take the two draft picks?

Steve Phillips says that the two draft picks wouldn’t cut it for Reyes if he was still the Mets GM, as he believes he could get a lot more than that through a mid-season trade. In fact, he says that the sooner the Mets trade him, the better, because it will eliminate any shards of hope Mets fans have for a playoff run sooner rather than later.

When asked if he would personally re-sign Jose Reyes as the GM, Phillips says he absolutely would sign him, but he would protect the contract by addressing Reyes’s history of frequent injuries by having incentives for Reyes to stay on the field, measured by statistics such as plate appearances and games played.  

Just yesterday, we discovered that Jose Reyes is not willing to negotiate a contract with the Mets during the season, making it seem all the more likely that Jose Reyes will not be a Met next season, and the Mets will end up with the two draft picks.

This is especially a real blow to the Mets because if they were able to negotiate with Reyes mid-season, they could get a better idea if they actually have a chance of signing him and of trading him, but now that’s all in the dark. The Mets will have to wait until the seasons over, which works against them because they simply can’t compete with teams like the Yankees on the free agent market while in the financial condition that they’ve been in since the Madoff scandal.

Players will sometimes choose to play with a team they love at a pay cut of a couple of millions of dollars, but likely not the size pay-cut he would take by signing with the Mets.

On the Wilpon Madoff Relationship

Phillips a long-time Mets General Manager (1997-2003), touched briefly on the much-talked about Mets ownership. In the news recently, Mets owner Fred Wilpon has come under fire due to his connection to Bernie Madoff.

Phillips recalls that the Madoff name was not unfamiliar in the organization, stating that he “heard Bernie Madoff’s name every week.” The former GM went on to explain that Madoff served as an “investment vehicle” in the organization, to defer payment on player contracts and serve other financial functions for the Mets. 

When asked about Fred Wilpon’s involvement, Phillips stated that he would honestly be surprised that Wilpon “smelled something fishy.” Wilpon is fighting to keep the team head on, bringing in minority share holders such as hedge fund manager David Einhorn. Of this Phillips noted that Fred would like to keep the organization in the family, citing his son, COO, Jeff Wilpon.

Overall, Phillips said that he thinks Wilpon will keep ownership of the team, citing Fred as a “do the next right thing type of guy.” Steve Phillips can be heard on SIRIUS XM Radio on the Mad Dog and Fantasy Sports Network.

Bloomberg Sports’ Robert Shaw sits down to talk with Steve Phillips about life, baseball and the state of the New York Metropolitans.

Phillips a long-time Mets General Manager (1997-2003), touched briefly on the much-talked about Mets ownership. In the news recently, Mets owner Fred Wilpon has come under fire due to his connection to Bernie Madoff.

Phillips recalls that the Madoff name was not unfamiliar in the organization, stating that he “heard Bernie Madoff’s name every week.” The former GM went on to explain that Madoff served as an “investment vehicle” in the organization, to defer payment on player contracts and serve other financial functions for the Mets. 

When asked about Fred Wilpon’s involvement, Phillips stated that he would honestly be surprised that Wilpon “smelled something fishy.” Wilpon is fighting to keep the team head on, bringing in minority share holders such as hedge fund manager David Einhorn. Of this Phillips noted that Fred would like to keep the organization in the family, citing his son, COO, Jeff Wilpon.

Overall, Phillips said that he thinks Wilpon will keep ownership of the team, citing Fred as a “do the next right thing type of guy.”

Steve Phillips can be heard on SIRIUS XM Radio on the Mad Dog and Fantasy Sports Network.

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