Jeff Wilpon's power game brought Mets' sale to Steve Cohen to a standstill


In the end it all came down to Jeff.

Several sources have now confirmed to The Post that the biggest and unsolvable problem with the now almost dead sale of the New York Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen was the role that team heir and COO Jeff Wilpon would play in the move from Power and beyond.

In the late stages of his agreement to buy 80 percent of the $ 2.6 billion franchise, Fred and Jeff Wilpon informed Cohen that Jeff would maintain full operational control over the Mets for the pre-agreed five-year period should be a transition phase and then maintain a leading role in the organization after the takeover of Cohen

While it's unclear whether the Wilpons wanted to keep the COO title for Jeff after the transition, the sources consistently agree that Jeff wanted to be part of the decision-making process under Cohen's ownership.

At the major league baseball owners' meeting in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, Commissioner Rob Manfred asked if the sale would come about in any form: "I can only tell you that I believe there will be no transaction – and my fortune telling is not that great.

"I don't know what's going to happen," added Manfred with a laugh. "I currently believe that this transaction is not proceeding."

Manfred also said: “Based on conversations with the buyer and seller that are ongoing [that] The claim that the transaction failed due to an act by the Wilpons is absolutely unfair. "

Steve Cohen, Jeff Wilpon Mets Sales
Steve Cohen, Jeff WilponGetty Images; Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

A source familiar with the talks said Cohen was trying to change the deal's financial terms.

A former Mets employee told The Post, however, that it is hard to imagine that a business would have come about without a role for Jeff.

"This guy has never done anything other than play baseball for a week and work for his father," said the former Mets employee. "The Mets are his life. He can't do anything else. "

Jeff's current leadership of the organization is extremely practical in every way. It is known that every facet of the team, from baseball to marketing, is in his area of ​​responsibility.

"He is the owner and the de facto general manager," said a source close to the team. "He doesn't want to give up on that, even if everyone around him does it."

Sources familiar with Wilpons' thoughts tell The Post that they are upset and upset about the death of this deal in the press and that they are as ready to kill this deal as Cohen is. Fred and Jeff are getting angry with local sports radio and social media, asking the Wilpons to sell the team to a $ 13 billion hedge fan Mets fan.

To make things more frustrating, both sides remain surprised by an apparently ironic nondisclosure agreement.

However, one of these sources also considered how this extremely public divorce affects the owners' meetings.

"They're just wondering if the other owners tell them to just do it," said the source. "It's so much money."

Fred Wilpon declined to comment on The Post at the meetings. Jeff Wilpon did not respond to a request for comment in the mail.

– Additional reporting from Ken Davidoff in Orlando, Florida.