Tag:Mets
Posted on: September 6, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Reyes

By Evan Brunell

The New York Mets plan to pare payroll significantly next season, taking a $140-million team and slashing it down to at least $110 million, if not under $100 million.

The Mets aren't ready to commit to an overall payroll plan for 2012 because a lot of the decision hinges both on 2012 ticket prices and the fate of Jose Reyes. The team has yet to determine next year's ticket prices, which will directly influence the team's payroll budget. Plus, New York could choose to rebuild next year if Reyes departs, which would set the team up better for future success even if a year's pain would be needed, a source tells the New York Post's Joel Sherman for the first time on the record or on background.

Projected 2012 Mets
Lineup
C Josh Thole
1B Ike Davis
2B Ruben Tejada
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes?
LF Jason Bay
CF Angel Pagan?
RF Lucas Duda
Rotation/Closer
SP1 R.A. Dickey
SP2 Johan Santana
SP3 Mike Pelfrey?
SP4 Jon Niese
SP5 Dillon Gee?
CL Bobby Parnell
Helping matters is that the lineup and rotation for next season is pretty much ready to go, sans possible question marks at short and in center field, as well as the rotation, where the club could opt to non-tender Mike Pelfrey. If the team brought Reyes back, they would make more of a push to contend but still wouldn't go past $110 million in payroll, and that essentially guarantees the team next season looking much like this year's, as you can see from the table to your right. The projected lineup and rotation next season could be just like this year's, with Johan Santana added after a year-long rehab.

Why minimal change?

To start, the Mets don't have much choice. There are five players signed for 2012 at $60.45 million. Adding Reyes around $20 million annually would push the total cost to $80.45 million, leaving just $30 million to spread out among 19 other players. That's not a lot of flexibility, which would demand the Mets retain many of their players, especially those who have yet to hit free agency and can still be controlled at lower dollars.

But don't forget -- the Phillies aren't going anywhere, the Braves are a strong team and the Nationals are starting to worry many in the game. That's a lot of teams to get through to make the postseason, and the Mets aren't dripping with enough talent to make it happen. They could be better off punting 2012 -- if Reyes doesn't return... or even if he does -- to get one year closer to the end of Santana and Jason Bay's contracts, while bringing along their top prospects for another year. With Jenrry Meija undergoing the knife for Tommy John surgery and Zach Wheeler along with Matt Harvey still a year or two out, it may be the prudent move to load up for 2013... especially given the elite free-agent class that currently projects to hit the market. Sherman cites Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain as potential free agents.

While the Mets may be -- are -- paring payroll so the Wilpons can save money in light of the Bernie Madoff case, they're also slashing payroll because there just isn't much that can be done. Treating 2012 as a rebuilding year to evaluate the team may be the most prudent course of action, Reyes or no Reyes. And if there's one thing about GM Sandy Alderson we know, it's that he's smart and if the best course of action -- even in a major media market like New York -- is to wait another year for the best chance at long-term success, he will do it.

And frankly, if you look at the team, it's the right move. The Mets should do what they can to bring back Reyes, but any retention of Reyes would have to be with the idea that the contract would pay far more dividends in 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Lip service would be paid toward making the postseason next year with Reyes, of course, but it wouldn't go beyond that unless New York surprises and stays in contention deep into July.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:37 am
 

Pepper: Capping Strasburg's 2012 innings

Strasburg

By Evan Brunell

Inning limit: As Stephen Strasburg prepares to dazzle baseball with his skills Tuesday night in his much-anticipated return from Tommy John surgery, the question arises as to exactly how many innings the Nats can get out of its presumptive ace next season.

As the Washington Times writes, Washington determines inning limits on an individual basis, taking into account "their age, conditioning, innings in the previous season and big- league innings before the injury." For example, Jordan Zimmermann was shut down at 161 1/3 innings this season, the season after his own Tommy John surgery. That represented a 20 percent increase over his previous career-high set in 2009, which is a traditional barometer in baseball.

Assuming the same 20 percent increase, Strasburg would throw 147 innings in 2012, up from 2010's 123 2/3 innings between the majors and minors. That limit is based off his previous high, not off any complications from the surgery, which could factor in -- although other pitchers have cracked 200 innings a year after surgery, so that shouldn't hold Strasburg back. Washington won't make any type of determination until spring training, which is the smart move. Bank on a cap similar to Zimmermann's 160, but that could always change if the Nats find themselves in a postseason race down the stretch.

Mattingly eager
: Don Mattingly, skipper of the Dodgers, is eager to see Strasburg at work against the Dodgers.  "He's created a buzz, that's for sure, last year, and [he] continues to," Mattingly told MLB.com. "And he's produced. When he's pitched, he's pitched well."

Span back: The concussed Span is back with the Nationals after resting at home in Tampa for the past week. Span, who suffered the injury on June 3 and later hit the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3, still harbors hope of returning this season. "I do truly believe that I will be back on the field," Span told MLB.com. "When? I don't know. But I will be back out there. If things go good, I would like to go into the offseason having played in some games here. I'd rather do that than go into the offseason not playing at all."

It's always interesting to hear a player's take on concussions, as it remains a relatively new (at least, as far as admitting the injury and properly diagnosing it goes) injury and one that is still undergoing plenty of research. Here's Span's take:

"It's not a normal injury," he said. "Sometimes you start wondering if people believe what you're telling them about how you feel. So mentally, it's little things like that. You know how this game is and all masculine sports -- everybody feels that if you're not bleeding, you should go out there and play. And I tried doing that, so it's not like I didn't try. So that's been tough for me."

Retirement? Hideki Okajima doesn't know what his future will hold, but it's definitely not Boston. Despite pitching well in Triple-A after a failed early-season stint with the Red Sox, Okajima hasn't returned since being outrighted off the 40-man. Once a strong setup man, the ensuing years haven't been kind to the Japanese left-hander, but he didn't help himself by saying he'd rather remain in Pawtucket than return to Boston when he was first demoted back down to Triple-A.

Now, Okajima isn't sure what type of offers he will get from other clubs in the winter, but wouldn't rule out a return back to Japan or even retirement.

"I didn't expect to be in this situation, but this is reality," he told the Providence Journal. "I am here. It's obviously very disappointing to be in this situation in this point in the year, but this is reality and this is where I belong right now. I've accepted that fact and just have to rethink how I approach the game so I can be where I want to be next season."

Ziegler adjusting: It took some time for the former A to adjust to life as a Diamondback, both with the transition to the NL and trying to conform to Arizona's philosophy of varying times to the plate to help control the running game. He hasn't allowed a run or walk in his last 4 1/3 innings over six games, stranding eight baserunners. "The National League style of ball is different and it took a little getting used to," Ziegler told MLB.com. "Hitters are more aggressive early in the count and it made a difference just in how I had to approach each at-bat."

9/11: The Yankees won't be in the city for the 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 this Sunday, so will hold a ceremony on Wednesday. Click through to read what the ceremony will hold. (MLB.com)

Furcal wants to return: Rafael Furcal hopes to return to the Cardinals after the year, a prospect St. Louis is hoping comes to pass. The Cards have a busy offseason on their hands, so Furcal may have to wait, but given the shortstop's brittle body, isn't expected to command a significant deal. Ideally, the Cards would ink Furcal for one season on an incentive-laden contract. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Social media: After being part of one of the more controversial plays -- and certainly the most controversial in replay history thus far -- the Marlins' Bryan Peterson discussed the play for a half-hour on Twitter before calling it quits when tweets got derogatory. It's incredible how fast the social media revolution has hit baseball, as now players are taking to Twitter to discuss controversial plays with the fanbase. That would have been unheard of five years ago. (MLB.com)

Drafting time: Baseball players take their fantasy sports seriously. Just check out this photo Matt Kemp tweeted of the Dodgers' fantasy football draft. (Kemp's Twitter)

Rookie time: The Marlins called up third baseman Matt Dominguez as part of September callups. It's the first stint in the bigs for Dominguez, who was considered a heavy favorite to open the year as the starting third baseman. He won't play extensively down the stretch, but will be showcasing himself to be next season's starting third baseman. (MLB.com)

Good news: The Mets got encouraging reports on two injured players integral to the team. Johan Santana is proceeding on pace and will throw on Friday in a minor-league game. With playoffs likely over after the weekend, that would line up Santana's next stint to come in the majors, where he'd throw two or three innings. Meanwhile, Ike Davis participated in baseball activities all weekend pain-free. Doctors still need to sign off on his ankle, but it appears as if he will be 100 percent for spring training. (ESPN New York)

Speaking of... Speaking of Davis, here's some more stuff on the Mets first baseman, who believes he won't need surgery on his ankle. "The bottom line is there are gonna be some effects from this my whole life," Davis told the New York Post. "Either arthritis or something else later on, but as long as it's not sharp pain, [I can play]." While doctors are expected to sign off on his ankle, Davis says it's a day-to-day thing at this point, so surgery remains possible.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Pascucci to majors for 1st time since with Expos

By Matt Snyder

The Mets have promoted first baseman Valentino Pascucci from Triple-A Buffalo to join the big-league club, the team announced Monday night. This normally wouldn't be especially newsworthy, as Pascucci is a 32 year old who hit .259/.370/.473 in the minors this season, but Pascucci's story makes it quite interesting. He's been in the majors before -- back in 2004 -- as a member of the Montreal Expos.

Pascucci's stint with the Expos didn't go well, as he hit .177 with a .588 OPS. Still, that was seven years ago and he only got 74 plate appearances. At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Pascucci's power should be real. He hit 21 homers in 129 Triple-A games this season, so he'll bring some punch to the Mets for the rest of the 2011 season. Who knows, maybe he'll parlay this gig into a Matt Stairs-like pinch-hitting role for the next several years (to clarify, it's very doubtful Pascucci could amass the same numbers as Stairs -- I'm just saying maybe he lands in the sort of role Stairs had the past three to four seasons).

Regardless, it's still a great story that he's back to the bigs. After his 2004 campaign, Pascucci spent two seasons in Japan. Upon his return, he spent time with five different organizations before having to join up with an Independent club in 2010. The Mets then signed Pascucci from the Indy team 14 games into the 2010 season for his second stint with the the organization.

So after all that, Pescucci is returning to the majors for the first time since playing for a now-defunct team.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Remembering the best races of the past 5 years



By Matt Snyder

This coming Wednesday will mark three weeks until the final day of Major League Baseball's regular season for 2011. While it's possible we'll have something go down to the wire -- Rangers-Angels, perhaps? -- many of the races seem to be turning into a yawnfest. With that in mind let's re-live the best race in each of the past five seasons.

2006 - NL Central
The Cardinals won the World Series that year, but almost blew a chance at the playoffs. With an injury-depleted roster, the Cards lost nine of 11 games from September 18-28, seeing a seven-game lead dwindle down to just a half-game over the Astros. A four-game sweep in Houston didn't help. The funny thing was, the Reds were actually tied for first with the Cardinals after winning on August 24 but went through a similar swoon to fall back. After pulling into that tie with the Cardinals, the Reds lost nine of 10 games. The Astros had simply been a mediocre team all season, but the futility of the teams above them made this a three-team race. The result was the Cardinals winning the division after buckling down and winning three of four to clinch with one day left in the season. They finished an uninspiring 83-78, with Astros finishing 1 1/2 games back and the Reds 3 1/2 back. Still, they won it all and proved all you have to do is get there to have a shot.

2007 - The entire NL
The Rockies get most of the ink here, and rightfully so, but every single race in the National League was a good one in '07 while the AL races weren't overly exciting at all. The Central division was actually the least exciting of the races in the NL, and the Cubs only won it by two games. The Brewers were tied with the Cubs on September 18, but the Cubs won four straight and built a 3 1/2 game lead. Like I said, that was the least exciting race in the NL. The Phillies trailed the Mets in the NL East -- and sometimes the Braves -- for the overwhelming majority of the season. In fact, the Phillies never saw first place until September 27, and even then it was a tie with the Mets. The Mets had a seven-game lead on September 12, but proceeded to lose six of seven games and see their lead shrink to 1 1/2 games. The Mets then won three straight and looked like they would hold on, but five consecutive losses then handed the lead to the Phillies. The Mets did win a game and pull to within a tie prior to the last game of the season, but lost that while the Phillies won and took the East. And now we get to the West/Wild Card race(s). It looked like the Padres and Diamondbacks were going to have a two-team race with the loser getting the Wild Card, but then the Rockies historical run happened. They won 14 of their last 15 games, including that extra-inning victory over the Padres in the one-game playoff -- in which Matt Holliday may or may not have touched home plate when scoring the winning run. The game was an absolute classic, with the Padres scoring two runs in the 13th, followed by the Rockies getting three off future Hall-of-Fame closer Trevor Hoffman in the bottom half of the inning. This game was for the Wild Card, as the D-Backs were able to finish the regular season with a one-game lead over both the Padres and Rockies. The Padres actually held a two-game lead over the Rockies with two games to play, and lost both of them -- only to lose in the one-game playoff as well. It should be noted that the Mets were only one game behind the Padres heading into the last day of the season, so a win would have made for a three-way tie in the Wild Card. Basically, what looked like a Mets, Diamondbacks, Padres and Cubs/Brewers playoffs became totally different after the Phillies and Rockies got different degrees of hot in the last few weeks. Maybe that season provides hope for an interesting September in 2011?

2008 - AL Central
The White Sox led by as many as six games in June, but a 10-game winning streak by the Twins knotted the two and they'd stay neck and neck for the rest of the season. The two teams were tied on three different days in September and weren't separated by more than 2 1/2 games all month. What was interesting here is the White Sox finished the season a half-game behind the Twins. There was a lingering rainout against the Tigers that the White Sox had to play the Monday following the conclusion of the actual season. If they won that, it would be a tie for first in the Central and the White Sox would host a one-game playoff. They beat the Tigers 8-2 and then took down the Twins 1-0 behind a masterful performance from John Danks (eight shutout innings, only two hits allowed). The only run the White Sox scored was a solo home run from Jim Thome in the bottom of the seventh.

2009 - AL Central
The Tigers had a seven-game lead after winning September 6, but went 11-15 the rest of the way. The Twins went 18-8 and ran them down, ending the season in a tie for the AL Central crown and forcing what would become an epic one-game playoff. Interestingly enough, the Tigers had a two-game lead heading into the penultimate series of the year, which was a four-game set against, yes, the Twins. It was in Detroit and the Tigers came away with a split. That should have been good enough, as the Tigers now had a two-game lead with three to play. Instead, the Tigers dropped two of three to the White Sox while the Twins swept the Royals. Thus, the one-game playoff would be played in the Metrodome. It would be one of the more exciting baseball games in recent memory. Nine innings weren't enough, as the game headed to extras knotted at four. The Tigers scored in the top of the 10th, but the Twins answered in the bottom half, spurred on by a leadoff triple from Michael Cuddyer. The Twins nearly won the game that very inning, but Alexi Casilla was hosed at home plate by left fielder Ryan Raburn on a potential sacrifice fly. Casilla came away the hero in the 12th, however, as he plated Carlos Gomez (pictured left with Joe Mauer) in the 12th with a walk-off single.

2010 - NL West/Wild Card
Like the Cardinals in 2006, the Giants ended up being the World Series champs after nearly missing out on the postseason. The Giants trailed the Padres by 6 1/2 games on August 25, but from September 4 until September 30, no more than two games separated the two teams. The pivotal series ended up being the Padres losing three of four at home to the lowly Cubs. This put them down three games with three to play. Wouldn't you know it, though, that the final three games were against the Giants. So the Padres could sweep the Giants and force a one-game playoff. Essentially, they controlled their own destiny, but would have to beat the Giants four times in a row. They did win the first two, but Jonathan Sanchez and five other pitchers would shut the Padres out on the final game of the regular season, and the Giants won the West by two games. In the Wild Card race, the Padres had the lead until that fateful Cubs' series, during which the Braves swept the Marlins and passed the Padres. Still, the Braves lost two games as the Padres took the first two from the Giants in the final weekend, meaning the Braves and Padres were tied with one game left. The Padres lost while the Braves survived two late rallies by the Phillies, winning 8-7.

So, will any of the present races provide the kind of excitement we've seen in the past few years? Considering the runner-up of the AL East is going to be the Wild Card, it appears our only chance is the AL West. Then again, would we have predicted the '07 Rockies or '09 Twins to make up the ground they did? That should at least provide some hope for fans of teams like the Giants and Indians this year.

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Posted on: September 3, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Johan Santana makes rehab debut

SantanaBy Evan Brunell

In Johan Santana's first rehab start of the season, he hurled two innings for high-Class A Port St. Lucie while allowing one run on three hits, striking out two and giving up zero walks.

Santana could yet make it back this season with New York as a reliever, but still has more rehab starts to make. His next one will come friday in either St. Lucie or two other Class A affiliates in Brooklyn or Savannah, pending which teams have a playoff game that day.

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Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:16 am
 

On Deck: Lincecum/Kennedy battle highlights day

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

DiamondbacksGiantsNL West battle continues: The Giants stopped Arizona from winning its 10th straight game and also pulled to within five of the division lead. San Francisco needs to do much more than that to have any hope of winning the division, though, and will turn to ace Tim Lincecum and his 2.58 ERA to try to hold 'Zona back. But Ian Kennedy is a tall order to face, as he holds a slim 3.03 ERA and is also angling to become the NL's first 18-game winner. He's only coughed up one run in his last two starts, punching out 15. It's shaping up to be quite a pitcher's duel. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET

WeaverWeaver takes mound: The Angels slipped to 4 1/2 back in the AL West after Friday's games, but can try to make up some ground on Saturday if Jered Weaver can silence the Twins, which shouldn't be too tall of a task.The Rangers have to fall to Boston for a full game to be made up, but L.A. will take winning their own game. Weaver, winner of six straight, will oppose Brian Duensing a night after the Twins pasted the Angels 13-5 to win their second straight. The Twins haven't won three games or more in a row since July 5, and that's a mark that might stand as they stare at Weaver's 2.28 ERA and wonder what they're supposed to do. Twins vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

MiloneDebut: The Nationals are shuffling their rotation for September to get a look at their minor-league players. One of these pitchers draws the ball Saturday, as Tom Milone makes his big-league debut against the Mets. Milone had a 3.22 ERA for Triple-A this year, punching out 155 and walking 16 in 148 1/3 innings, strong numbers despite not being considered a heralded prospect. He'll have to face a streaking David Wright, who is hitting .500 over his last 26 at-bats and has hit the Nats well as of late. Wright will be manning the hot corner at third behind Dillon Gee. The Mets have won seven of eight. Mets vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:54 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Remember me?



By Matt Snyder


Albert Pujols, Cardinals. So ... about that "disappointing season" ... Thursday, Pujols hit a solo home run in the first inning, a grand slam in the third inning and ended the day 4-4 with five RBI and three runs as the Cardinals trimmed the Brewers lead to 7 1/2 games in the NL Central with an 8-4 win. Pujols is now hitting .292 with a .917 OPS, 90 runs, 84 RBI and an NL-best 34 home runs. You'd be hard pressed to name a handful of players more scary in the batter's box to opposing pitchers, even in the worst season of his career.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. The kid the Jays got in return for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum just keeps hitting. With the score tied at six in the eighth inning Thursday, Lawrie hit a two-run bomb to propel the Blue Jays to victory. On the day, Lawrie was 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and two RBI. In just 26 games since getting his call to the show, Lawrie has 32 hits, six doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 20 RBI, 15 runs and four stolen bases. He's hitting .340/.392/.713 and he's only 21 years old. Needless to say, the return on Marcum looks like it is going to be quite nice for years to come.

Miguel Batista, Mets. The 40-year-old veteran made his Mets debut Thursday, meaning he's now pitched for 10 different teams. He put together a quality start, working six innings and allowing two earned runs, which was enough to earn the victory. It was the 100th win in his 17-season career (he has 375 relief appearances to 240 starts, so it's not as unproductive as it looks).



The Pittsburgh Pirates. Remember when the Pirates were a whopping seven games over .500? It wasn't that long ago. It was the third week of July. They were in first place in the NL Central. It's buried far in the rearview mirror at this point, though. After being held in check by Dana Eveland for eight innings Thursday, the Pirates are 11-31 since July 19. They're now 18 1/2 games out and are actually in danger of falling into fifth place at some point this month. Pirates fans were tweeting that Thursday's game was "rock bottom" due to Eveland holding the Bucs to one run over eight innings and drawing a walk at the plate, in addition to some awful defense in the seventh inning.

Yankees/Red Sox game pace. The game lasted four hours and 21 minutes. The final score was 4-2. It's taken on a life of its own at this point -- and, as Mr. Teixeira said, it's brutal. It is just amazing how long these Yanks-Sox games take. In the generation of 140 characters and endless Internet and TV options, you wonder about the lasting impact of this with the next few generations -- as these are baseball's two marquee franchises and easily get the most exposure in coverage. I have no problem with either the Yankees or Red Sox, so don't waste your time with those accusations. My bias is pro-baseball long-term. What percentage of teenagers would rather watch baseball for four hours than basketball for two or football for three? They'll be adults with jobs soon. This game pace issue is going to be a problem for our game if things don't change. It's hard enough to sell a 162-game regular season in this day and age. Think about it. We fell in love with this game as kids. The game needs to be sold to kids. Four and a half hour games that end around 11:30 on a school night don't cut it.

Tigers' pitching staff. It was a pretty good team effort to be carved up by the Royals for 11 runs on 17 hits, which included four doubles and two home runs. Starter Jacob Turner and Phil Coke -- who took the loss -- were the worst, but all five of the pitchers in the game were bad. The only one who wasn't charged with a run was Luis Marte, but he only recorded two outs and allowed three baserunners (and two inherited runners to score).

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Einhorn's deal with the Mets is off

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David Einhorn's will not buy a minority share of the New York Mets, the team announced on Thursday.

"After months of negotiations, the parties were unable to reach agreement, and the Mets ownership has decided to explore other options," the team said in a statement.

More on Mets' messs

Einhorn's purchase of part of the team was supposed to help the Mets pay back a multimillion-dollar loan from Major League Baseball. However, in the statement the team said it has enough money to cover its losses from this season and "moving forward." The statement also said the team was under "no financial pressure," to make another deal, but are still interested in selling part of the franchise.

"We are very confident in the team's plans – both off and on the field," Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon said in the statement. "We will engage with other individuals, some who have been previously vetted by Major League Baseball, along with other interested parties, regarding a potential minority investment into the franchise. My partners and I thank David for his interest in considering this opportunity and wish him well in the future."

Einhorn released a statement as well:

"I am disappointed to announce that I will not be purchasing an ownership interest in the New York Mets baseball team at this time," Einhorn was quoted in the statement. "It is clear that it will not be possible for me to consummate the transaction on the terms that the Sterling-Mets organization and I originally agreed to several months ago. The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible."

According to the New York Post, Einhorn "overplayed his hand" with the Mets ownership group. Einhorn was expected to by 33 percent of the team for $200 million. The newspaper reported talks between Einhorn and the Mets stalled when Einhorn pushed the current owners on a way for him to take over the majority share of the team.

Einhorn blamed the team for trying to change the terms of the deal last week. 

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