PORT ST. LUCIE — Mike Piazza loves the Mets, but isn’t looking to buy them as part of an ownership group. The Hall of Fame catcher, who arrived in camp to begin serving as a spring training instructor, joked his investments would have to soon “come up big” if he wanted to buy the team.
Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz entered into negotiations in December with hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen to sell a majority stake in the team, but the proposed deal fizzled largely over control issues. Earlier this spring training, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon released a statement saying the team was still for sale.
“My whole thing is we are concerned about the legacy of the team and I know Jeff and Fred are as well,” Piazza said. “It’s not an easy transaction. It takes time. There are a lot of variables involved and you want to worry about your legacy. You want to pass it on to somebody who is going to be responsible.
“My advice to the fans is just stay positive.”
Piazza, who previously owned a soccer club in Italy that went bankrupt, indicated he hasn’t ruled out team ownership at some point in the future, but also realizes such opportunities are rare for former players.
“If it was an interesting situation and I had a seat at the table, I was able to have input — but of course the buck has to stop with someone — I would be interested,” Piazza said. “But the way these teams are appreciating and the amount of money, it’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s a huge project and you would have to have high net-worth individuals and funds and things like that.”
Mets adviser Al Leiter is also in camp this week and has been evaluating and providing instruction on the minor league side.