Alex Rodriguez emerges as potential Mets buyer

If anyone thought the soap-opera sale of the New York Mets couldn’t get any crazier after the Steve Cohen debacle, they were A-Rod levels of wrong.

According to multiple sources, the newest name to emerge as a potential suitor to buy the Mets is none other than Alex Rodriguez. Baseball and Wall Street insiders told The Post that the controversial former Yankees superstar is “kicking the tires” on the idea of getting into an upcoming auction for the team. This comes after Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager, walked away from a $2.6 billion deal for 80 percent of the team last week upon learning that the Wilpon family would not be surrendering control for the first five years of his ownership.

While sources told The Post that Cohen has not yet fully given up on his chances of purchasing the Mets, rumors of A-Rod’s interest have intensified.

“He’s a businessman and a baseball man based in New York,” said one A-Rod ally. “Why wouldn’t he be looking at this?”

A self-described childhood Mets fan who idolized Keith Hernandez in his youth, A-Rod flirted with signing with the team as a free agent in 2000. That dream was scuttled by then-Mets GM Steve Phillips’ disinterest in meeting A-Rod’s contract demands and creating what Phillips infamously termed “a 24-plus-one roster.” A-Rod eventually signed an unprecedented $252 million, 10-year deal with the Texas Rangers. He was traded to the Yankees following the 2003 season.

Sources caution that an A-Rod Mets bid would be a long shot and would require putting together an ownership group of even wealthier investors, much like the deal that his former teammate and frenemy Derek Jeter made to buy A-Rod’s hometown team, the Miami Marlins. In 2017, Jeter put down $25 million alongside 15 other investors to reach a $1.2 billion deal that made him the controlling partner and CEO of the organization.

“[Rodriguez] genuinely loves the Mets,” said one source familiar with A-Rod. “He and J.Lo have talked about him buying a team ever since Jeter got the Marlins.”

Another source cautioned that large ownership groups are not the preferred kind of buyer for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and his owners these days, but that the idea of putting A-Rod and Jeter in the same division as owners might be too irresistible if the money is right for the Wilpons. The Mets are thought to be alerting prospective buyers of their demands in an auction sale in the coming days, expected to be around $3 billion without the toxic five-year transfer window or the team’s cable TV station SNY.

While nearly triple what Jeter paid, that $3 billion figure is not necessarily a dealbreaker for A-Rod’s reported Mets dream, especially with his aforementioned fiancée in the picture. A-Rod’s net worth is reported to be in the neighborhood of $350 million, and J.Lo’s is thought to be closer to $400 million. Combined, the two could lay a strong foundation for a group bid.

Another signal that A-Rod might be thinking along those lines is his recent social schedule. The shortstop-turned-third baseman-turned-fledgling mogul has been investing in real estate since 2003, and since retiring from the diamond in 2016 has become a full-time player in the finance field. His A-Rod Corp has invested in numerous real estate deals and tech startups, and just last month, he invested an undisclosed sum with Budweiser parent company AB InBev to become chairman of the Dominican Republic-made beer brand Presidente.

Lately, Rodriguez has been making the rounds at high-profile investment conferences hosted by Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan. Both events were chock-full of super-wealthy potential partners for a Mets bid.

But while some sources are bullish on A-Rod’s future as the king of Queens, others are throwing cold water on the rumors and pointing to the person they still see as the future owner of the Amazin’s.

“No chance A-Rod pulls that off, especially with Steve Cohen still out there playing safety on this thing,” said one banker familiar with Cohen and the deal. “This auction will not get close to $3 billion, and it will be lucky to get over $2 billion. Steve knows that, he’s talking to people and he’s waiting for the Wilpons to come back begging for $2.6 billion and no five-year window.”

Cohen declined to comment on the notion that he is still actively monitoring the situation, but one source close to the $13 billion financier made it clear that he would not be involved with the Mets auction and “refuses to be used as a stalking horse” in the process.

Neither Rodriguez nor his representative, Ron Berkowitz, could be reached for comment.

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