Wayne Rothbaum emerges as potential Mets buyer for ‘fire sale only’

The latest billionaire bidder for the Mets might actually be more of a bargain shopper.

According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, biotech investor Wayne Rothbaum is still interested in buying the money-losing MLB franchise from the Wilpons, but without the team’s money-making cable network SNY included, Rothbaum would only pony up at an amazin’ discount.

“I think he likes the idea of $1 billion,” one source told The Post. “It’s a round number and the Wilpons are not holding any cards without SNY.”

If Rothbaum is indeed looking at a number as low as $1 billion, that is a bad sign for Fred and Jeff Wilpon, who scuttled a $2.6 billion deal with hedge funder Steve Cohen for their majority share of the Mets without SNY back in February. Since that pact imploded, COVID-19 has upended the global economy and put the MLB season at risk, making it likely that the Wilpons could lose as much as $150 million if the team plays only half a season in the end stages of a pandemic virus.

Recent valuations peg the Mets value without SNY at $1.6 billion.

Rothbaum’s “fire sale only” stance on the Mets also calls into question where he stands with Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. Reports have swirled that J-Rod tapped Rothbaum as a heavy financial hitter in their plan to acquire the Mets, but their offer would more than likely require a billionaire looking to spend.

Recent reports indicate that J-Rod might be moving on in their search for a deep-pocketed partner.

Major League Baseball, sources said, would also prefer that a more profligate member of the three commas club ends up with a franchise in the league’s biggest market, using the new owner’s wealth to then build a contender.

Speculation like that inevitably leads back to Cohen. While sources close to the $11 billion financier have made it abundantly clear that he’s not preparing a new bid for his childhood team, speculation remains rampant that he will emerge as the team’s new owner.

“I don’t see how Steve Cohen doesn’t end up with the Mets at this point,” one insider mused. “I wouldn’t bid again right now if I was him either, but he’s the only one that makes sense.”

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