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New York Mets: Passing on Lowe Not Related To Madoff

The Mets not only didn't sign free agent pitcher Derek Lowe today. They lost him to their division rival, the Atlanta Braves.

And while it still might be a bit too early, people are starting to speculate that the Wilpons losing millions in the Bernie Madoff Scandal might be having a material impact on their offseason spending.

When asked whether balking at Lowe had anything to do with the Madoff losses, a team spokesman told CNBC on Tuesday night that it was "categorically unrelated."

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The Mets got off to a quick start by bolstering their bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, both signed before Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11. A week later, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said at the press conference announcing the two that the Madoff scandal would not change the Mets' budget.

But as we pointed out when we reported that the Wilpons were connected to the Madoff scandal, they'll be judged on how much they spend.

So far, all we have to go on is a one-year contract, $2.25 million contract with 30-year-old pitcher Tim Redding, which might be a good buy for all we know. The Newark Star Ledger has the current Mets payroll at about $131 million, $7 million off last year's number. If the Mets, who are moving into their new stadium next year, don't pick up a legitimate pitcher in Oliver Perez or Randy Wolf, could we then conclude that something is not right?

The great blog SportsByBrooks is asking whether it was the Wilpons who backed out of a chance to buy English Premier team Newcastle United after the Madoff scandal went down. An article in the Guardian says that a bid for the team never materialized after the broker for the team learned that two potential investors had lost $300 million from Madoff. CNBC reported that Sterling Equities, which was founded by Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, could have lost as much as $300 million from Madoff. A person with knowledge of the deal said it was not the Mets owners who were involved in the bidding.

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