New York Yankees: Five Reasons to Believe in Derek Jeter

New York Yankees: Five Reasons to Believe in Derek Jeter

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COMMENTARY | Are you in the camp that suggests New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter is all but washed up as he turns 40 years old in his 20th MLB season and after missing 145 games in 2013?

 

Respectfully, you’ll be wrong and this is why:

Physical Differences

At this time in 2013, Jeter was pushing hard through a healing process to get himself ready for the regular season after suffering a broken left ankle in the 2012 American League Championship Series. He never let the injury fully heal and got on the field earlier than he should have. He re-fractured his ankle and then had multiple setbacks throughout the season.

After missing much of 2013, Jeter had time to simply let the healing process take its full course. He’s been able to use the entire offseason to prep his body for the rigors of the game.

According to a report by Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, Jeter has been in Tampa training and began participating in baseball activities Jan. 20. Being 100-percent healthy entering spring training is a big distinction from last year.

Jeter’s Recent History

How many times has Jeter been counted out before? Each time he’s been labeled as washed up or on the way out, he’s turned in fabulous performances. In 2008, his OPS dropped to .771 and the whispers began as to when the Yankees would shift Jeter away from shortstop. He followed that up with a 212-hit season, .871 OPS and a third-place finish in the AL MVP vote, as the Yankees went on to win the World Series.

In 2010, Jeter practically fell off the map when compared with his career line, posting a mediocre .710 OPS and followed up the first half of the 2011 season with similar results. He suffered an injury in June and came back in July fielding questions about retirement. He put those aside quickly with an amazing performance in the game in which his 3,000th career hit was a home run off David Price. He went 5-for-5 in that game and didn’t look back.

In 2012, the “Jeter’s Done” club continued to grow. He shut up those critics by leading Major League Baseball in hits (216) and lifting his OPS back to an impressive .791 in the process.

It’s Been Done Before

Historical data show very few players are prolific as 40-year-old shortstops, basically because they rarely exist. But, according to FanGraphs, some very good seasons have been produced by players 40 years of age.

Luke Appling hit .306/.386/.412 and recorded a 4.4 WAR in 572 plate appearances as a 40-year-old. He played 129 games at shortstop that season. Barry Larkin, also at 40, posted a 1.8 WAR with splits of .289/.352/.419 in 386 plate appearances while playing 85 of 111 games at short.

The odds may be against him, but Jeter measures up very well statistically to both of these men leading up to those seasons, showing that age alone should not be a factor.

Managing His Time

The Yankees are going to handle the captain cautiously. Jeter will not be on the field every single game and we should anticipate more full days of rest. If the Yankees play their cards right and Jeter gets to hit in about 150 games, expect that at least 30 of them will be as the designated hitter. The Yankees signed a solid backup in Brendan Ryan, who may not produce much with his bat but his glove can make up for it.

Even Jeter might admit that some rest would do his body good. He might be in wonderful shape but the Yankees’ offense is not fully reliant on him, so getting rest can only help as the season progresses.

He’s Derek Jeter

OK, this last reason may be pushing it a bit, but if Jeter does in fact produce at a reasonable clip, say .300/.340/.400 in 620 plate appearances, would anyone truly be surprised? The man has 3,316 hits, scored 1,876 runs and has a career line of .312/.381/.446. His last full season was fantastic. This isn’t a player who’s been struggling when healthy.

Jeter has reinvented himself on two separate occasions within the last several years. Yes, he’s going to be 40 and he plays a demanding position. It would not be fair to expect production similar to his prime years or even 2012, but it is not farfetched to believe that a healthy Jeter can still be valuable to the Yankees.

I will not count Derek Jeter out until he’s on a podium announcing his retirement.

Statistics provided by FanGraphs.

 

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New York Yankees Have One More Trade to Make

New York Yankees Have One More Trade to Make

Catching Surplus Clogs Roster

Yahoo Contributor Network

By                                  1 hour ago
New York Yankees Have One More Trade to Make

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The Yankees’ Austin Romine talks to Hiroki Kuroda.

                                        

COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees need to make one more deal before opening day.

The team still needs infield help and another starting pitcher might not hurt either, and New York has a couple of trading chips that might entice another team to deal.

New York has five catchers on the team’s 40-man roster — two more backstops than most teams are carrying into spring training. In fact, six teams are currently carrying only two catchers on their active roster while one team — the Colorado Rockies — has a single catcher on its roster. (Only the Boston Red Sox can match the Yankees’ roster when it comes to catchers.)

The Yankees’ roster includes Brian McCann, Francisco Cervelli, Gary Sanchez, JR Murphy, and Austin Romine. As I’ve learned from years of playing fantasy baseball, you don’t win championships with surplus catching.

The team’s opening-day catcher will be McCann, who finalized his 5-year/$85 million deal last month. His likely backup will be Cervelli, who avoided salary arbitration earlier this month by signing a $700,000 deal, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Cervelli, who served a 50-game suspension last year for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, spent most of last season on the disabled list. He’s played in parts of six seasons for the Yankees.

That leaves Sanchez and two players with major league experience — Murphy and Romine.

Sanchez — who will likely start 2014 in Double-A — is on the Yankees’ roster because the team wants to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Recently ranked the fourth-best catching prospect in baseball by MLB.com, he has been with the organization since 2009, when the then-16-year-old catcher signed for $3 million. This week, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him the Yankees’ best prospect.

Having spent years developing Sanchez, it seems unlikely that the team will want to trade him.

Trade Market for Romine or Murphy

According to the Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo, Romine is “very much available.” The former top prospect started off poorly last season after being promoted in late April but finished strong, batting over .300 in July and August.

Murphy, who played in 16 games for the Yankees last season, is also on the market. An above-average defender with 15-home-run potential, his trade value is near its peak. ESPN’s Law ranked Murphy the third best prospect in the Yankees organization and, in his write-up, wrote that Murphy is “going to be an every-day catcher for somebody.” The question is, Who?

The Newark Star-Ledger has reported that the Yankees have received calls about Murphy. Potential trade partners include the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers, who may be in the market for a catching prospect — as well as the Rockies. There’s also the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lack depth in the catching department.

Most recently, MLB.com’s Phil Rogers tweeted that the White Sox are interested in Murphy. To address the team’s catching void, the Sox picked up Adrian Nieto from the Washington Nationals in the Rule 5 draft. However, Murphy would be a huge upgrade and Chicago has a surplus of infield prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two teams pulled off a deal that sends Murphy and/or Romine to Chicago.

Joe Namath says he has brain damage from football

Joe Namath says he has brain damage from football

Jay Busbee

By                                  1 hour ago                             Shutdown Corner
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Joe Namath. (US Presswire)

Former quarterback Joe Namath, one of the most outspoken and memorable players in NFL history, now says that playing football damaged his brain.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning scheduled to air on Super Bowl Sunday, the former Jets QB admits to learning some disturbing truths about his health in his post-football days. “I’ve been some through some things medically,” Namath told CBS News reporter Rita Braver. “I’ve seen some things on my brain. But I’ve had some treatment – and I’ve improved.”

Even further, Namath seems to question the very idea of football. “None of the body was designed to play football,” he said. “Excuse me, you know, football, we’re just not designed for.”

Namath is now the most famous former NFL player to draw a connection between football and long-term head injury. Last fall, former Cowboys great Tony Dorsett confessed to suffering signs of brain damage as a result of concussions.

Namath famously guaranteed a victory for the upstart Jets 45 years ago, and then carried through on that guarantee back in Super Bowl III, leading the Jets to victory over the Baltimore Colts 16-7. Namath suffered other injuries during his NFL career, most notably to his knees, both of which had to be replaced.

The NFL has reached a settlement with 4,500 former players over concussions, but that settlement is on hold over concerns about whether the $765 million apportioned for former players is sufficient to meet medical needs.

 

 

Report: Callahan seeking seven-year, $42M deal; Girardi eyeing $33M over six

Report: Callahan seeking seven-year, $42M deal; Girardi eyeing $33M over six

Jan 29, 2014, 3:17 PM EST

CallahanGirardiGetty Images

Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi have both surfaced in recent trade rumors, which left many asking… why?

Sounds like their reported asking prices could be playing a role. From the New York Post:

Negotiations regarding an extension are at a standstill, if not an impasse, with Callahan believed seeking a deal in the neighborhood of seven years at $42 million that is not in the same ballpark as general manager Glen Sather is willing to pay; not even a ballpark as expansive as Yankee Stadium, where the Rangers and Islanders will meet on Wednesday.

As such, the Rangers are believed to be in the process of conducting due diligence regarding the rental market for Callahan, though two league GMs told The Post on Wednesday morning the captain’s name had not been broached recently by Sather.

The Post goes on to report that Girardi — who, like Callahan, is a pending UFA — is “believed to be seeking a six-year deal in the neighborhood of $5.5 million per season,” while Rangers GM Glen Sather has countered with two offers: “one for six years at more than $5 million per and one for five years at more than $5.5 million per.”

If accurate, both Callahan and Girardi’s demands would translate into big raises. Callahan’s in the final season of a three-year, $12.825 million deal — an average annual cap hit of $4.275 million — while Girardi’s in the last of his four-year, $13.3 million deal with a $3.325M cap hit.

The Rangers have plenty of cap space available for next season, though that’s largely the result of having just 10 players under contract. Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5M), Rick Nash ($7.8M) and Brad Richards ($6.7M) all carry fairly substantial salaries, and New York needs to deal with a quintet of restricted free agents: Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, John Moore and Justin Falk.

Related: Will the Rangers use a compliance buyout on Richards?

Russians face high stakes in Olympic men’s hockey

Russians face high stakes in Olympic men’s hockey

By GREG BEACHAM (AP Sports Writer)                                 January 30, 2014 11:37 AM                             AP – Sports
Russians face high stakes in Olympic men's hockey
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FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick (32) deflects a shot on goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. The Americans don’t have incredible star power, but they’re quite fast, and they might have the tournament’s best goaltending combo in Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

                                        Sidney Crosby and Canada are traveling halfway around the world in search of another golden moment. Sweden, Finland and the U.S. team arrive in Sochi brimming with NHL talent and intending to depart with medals.

While every elite hockey player in the world desperately wants to win his sport’s biggest international tournament, nobody needs to win in Sochi like the host team and Alex Ovechkin, the peerless goal-scorer expected to put Russia back atop the Olympic podium.

”Russia is going to have a whole different kind of pressure,” said Teemu Selanne, who will suit up for the Finns in his record-tying sixth Olympics. ”And it’s not easy to be that team.”

The Olympic men’s hockey competition is much more than a glorified All-Star week to the 150 NHL players exchanging their money-making jerseys for their national colors in 12 frantic days on the Black Sea coast. The NHL’s stars are back at their fifth consecutive games, and the defending champion Canadians are largely favored to win their third gold medal in four Olympics.

Yet even Wayne Gretzky realizes all eyes in Sochi are squarely on the home team, saying the Russians will be ”very difficult for anybody to beat.”

”There’s a number of teams that can win,” said Gretzky, who played for Canada in Nagano and built its gold-medal team in Salt Lake City. ”It comes down to the same thing all the time: Best goaltender, and if your best player is the best player on the ice and the best line on the ice, your team is ultimately going to be the gold-medal winner.”

The vaunted Soviet Union team claimed seven of the nine gold medals awarded between 1956 and 1988, but Russia hasn’t won this tournament in 22 years. The Russians have just one silver and one bronze since Albertville in 1992, getting shut out entirely in the last two Olympics despite their wealth of world-class talent.

”When you’ve got great players like (Evgeni) Malkin, (Pavel) Datsyuk and Ovechkin, everybody thinks they’re going to carry them to the gold medal,” said Igor Larionov, Russia’s three-time Olympic medalist and Hall of Famer. ”It will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure.”

In his jaw-dropping 18th international competition for Russia, the stalwart Ovechkin tops a lineup that includes top NHL goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and KHL scoring stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov.

With a home-crowd push and the ostensible advantage of their familiarity with the wider international rink, the Russians are well-positioned – but history and expectation have weighed immensely on these players since they crashed out of Turin and Vancouver.

”We always hope that because there’s only one puck, they’re going to be in trouble,” Selanne said with a smile. ”They all need the puck, so that’s what we always hope. I don’t think anybody can match their talent, but it’s a team sport, and there’s still only one puck there.”

Canada is equally loaded, and Crosby will wear the maple leaf for the first time since scoring the overtime winner against the Americans to end the Vancouver Olympics. But the favored Canadians still haven’t won a gold medal outside of North America since 1952, and their lineup is bulky and physical, which could be a liability in a speed-based international game.

”I like our Canadian team,” Gretzky said. ”I think we have a lot of depth. To me, it’s always an advantage when the best player in the world is on your team, and I think Crosby is the best player in the world.”

The Americans don’t have incredible star power, but they’re quite fast – and they might have the tournament’s best goaltending combo in Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick.

Sweden is loaded with offense led by the Sedin twins, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist is a proven international star.

Selanne and the Finns can’t match others’ depth, but they’ve won four medals in the last five Olympics – more than any other nation.

Jaromir Jagr leads a lively Czech team into his fifth Olympics, while the popular dark horse pick is Switzerland, which finished second at last year’s world championships.

The gold-medal game at the Bolshoi Ice Dome on Feb. 23 is the grand finale to the Sochi Olympics. Russians fans are hoping its talented team holds up under the weight of a nation.

”Just like the Canada guys in Vancouver 2010, a lot of pressure,” said Sergei Fedorov, a two-time Russian Olympian. ”Maybe more. Our fans might be a little tougher.”

St. Louis Rams owner buys potentially stadium-sized chunk of land in Los Angeles

St. Louis Rams owner buys potentially stadium-sized chunk of land in Los Angeles

Eric Edholm

By                                  3 hours ago                             Shutdown Corner

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Stan Kroenke (USA Today Sports Images)

Are the St. Louis Rams taking the first step to return to Los Angeles?

 

Rams owner Stan Kroenke has bought a large tract of land in Inglewood, California — about 12 miles from downtown L.A. — that potentially could be used for an NFL stadium, the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer is reporting.

Kroenke purchased a 60-acre parking lot located between the soon-to-be-shuttered Hollywood Park racetrack and The Forum that originally was owned by Wal-Mart but was sold when the superstore they wanted to build was not publicly approved. Madison Square Garden Co., which owns The Forum, had wanted to buy it but didn’t act fast enough. Interestingly, Kroenke is a former Wal-Mart board member as the son-in-law of former Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton.

A return to L.A. has been rumored for years, and the Rams’ inability to work out a stadium deal with St. Louis has kept them as one of the frontrunners to relocate. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for years has said the NFL remains interested in placing a franchise again in the league’s No. 2-ranked market but said that expansion of the league’s 32 teams was not the most likely route toward achieving that.

It is possible that Kroenke is trying to leverage St. Louis for a new stadium? Absolutely, and the Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell examines the city’s path for the foreseeable future. There certainly will be hurdles for the team to move, but it’s not something we can rule out yet.

The Rams’ current lease keeps them in place through the 2014 season, expiring in 2015. Kroenke knows that he’d get significant support from the league if such a move was made, and he could even be rewarded with a Super Bowl there — something that wouldn’t happen in St. Louis — because of the league’s unofficial reward-a-new-stadium program in coming years. It also would not hurt that the geographically skewed NFC West might return to some order with the Rams moving back to the West Coast.

Goodell, in his state-of-the-NFL address on Friday, said there are no active plans for stadium development on the new Kroenke site that he’s aware of.

“As you know, our policy is that they do have to keep us informed of any development, anything that is going on in the Los Angeles market by policy. Stan is a very large developer on a global basis,” Goodell said. “… He has kept us aware of it. There are no plans of stadium development to my knowledge. Anything that requires stadium development requires multiple votes of the membership.

“I think instead of overreacting, we should do what’s necessary to continue to support the team locally, which they have done in St. Louis, and do whatever we can do to ensure that team is successful in the St. Louis market.”

In a follow-up question, Goodell was asked about the stadium negotiations, or lack thereof, surrounding the Rams and St. Louis right now, and he disputed the idea that things have gone stagnant at home with the pursuit of a new or refurbished stadium.

“There has a lot of activity consistent with the lease — what their rights are, the future of the [Edward Jones] Dome and how that would play into the future of the team,” Goodell said. “There has been quite a bit of discussions, active negotiations.”

But later, in a one-on-one interview with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, Goodell was vague on the matter.

“[Kroenke] has not determined what he’s going to do with that property and how he’s going to develop it,” Goodell said.

Inglewood mayor James T. Butts told Farmer he was aware of the land sale and would welcome an NFL team coming to his town.

“It would not surprise me at all that there would be interest in a football stadium,” Butts said. “We have been the home of sports teams before, and we have experience working with sports franchises.

“If there is to be interest by the NFL, we have the most desirable location.”

The Rams did not comment on the sale. The franchise was located in Los Angeles from 1946, when it moved from Cleveland, to 1994, when it moved to St. Louis. Other potential NFL franchises that could be candidates to move to Los Angeles include the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, which also were located in L.A. previously.

The league controls the L.A. market, but as Goodell pointed out Friday, any move of any team to the city would require ownership approval of 24 of the 32 parent clubs. Still, Goodell earlier hinted that the demand for Super Bowl in multiple cities is one reason why the league will openly consider new markets such as Los Angeles.

“There is such a demand for Super Bowls right now,” Goodell said. The number of cities that could receive multiple Super Bowls right now is incredibly limited. We see the opportunity to expand the game, come into new markets and we find that valuable to the league.”

 

The Simpsons predicted this year’s Super Bowl way back in 2005

The Simpsons predicted this year’s Super Bowl way back in 2005

Jay Busbee

By                                  3 hours ago                             Shutdown Corner
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The Simpsons in 2005, via @TheSimpsons.

We all know that wherever America’s going, the Simpsons got there years before. The latest evidence: as @TheSimpsons’ Twitter feed noted, everyone’s favorite Springfieldians predicted this year’s Super Bowl matchup way back in 2005. Even came close to picking the spread, too.

In that episode, “Bonfire of the Manatees,” Homer bets big on football and loses, leading to the Mob setting up shop for an adult film in his house. There’s a lesson in there, everyone: don’t bet on this year’s Super Bowl.

For what it’s worth, this wasn’t a completely off-the-wall matchup; the episode aired in October 2005, and in the following Super Bowl, Seattle played Pittsburgh, who’d defeated Denver in the AFC Championship.

It’s a nice bit of synergy, but it’s got nothing on the famous “Back to the Future II” prediction of the Chicago Cubs defeating Miami in the 2015 World Series. Considering how godawful those two teams are in 2014, and the fact that they’re still in the same league, that would be a prediction that would rattle your bones.

Fun fact: Did you know Homer Simpson actually owns the Denver Broncos? It’s true. Way back in 1996,  Homer went to work for Bond villain Hank Scorpio. Homer confessed that he’d always wanted to own the Dallas Cowboys. Hank couldn’t get him the Cowboys, but he got the next best thing: the Denver Broncos. Close enough:

The Denver Broncos on the Simpsons.

Blue Jays have been quiet this offseason

Blue Jays have been quiet this offseason

January 30, 2014, 4:45 pm

Last year’s winner of the offseason has been quiet this time around. The Toronto Blue Jays who added Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes a year ago, no longer have Johnson, but still lots of payroll.

The Jays’ estimated payroll is nearly $135 million. Buehrle, Dickey, Reyes and Jose Bautista account for $60 million of that, and there’s a sense around some in the game that Toronto is willing to go after at least one of the players who would require draft pick compensation.

Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana could help fill out the Blue Jays’ rotation and boost a club that won only 74 games in 2013. The underachievers allowed catcher J.P. Arencibia to leave, and despite trying to make some trades, they haven’t been able to.

Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett would also fill Toronto’s needs. Burnett once pitched there, but he may want to go back to Pittsburgh.

Report: Orioles, Rays pursuing A.J. Burnett

Baseball

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
January 30, 2014 12:44 pm ET          

   

The list of A.J. Burnett suitors seems to be growing. (USATSI)
The list of A.J. Burnett suitors seems to be growing. (USATSI)

 

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

It’s been known for some time that the Orioles along with the incumbent Pirates are hoping to secure the services of A.J. Burnett for 2014. Now comes this tweet from Peter Gammons that clarifies the O’s level of interest and adds the Rays to the scrum:

 Baltimore, of course, has a pretty obvious need in the rotation. Last season, they ranked 12th in the AL in rotation ERA and rotation WAR, and they’re without a notable addition this offseason. As for the Rays, were they to land Burnett, the scuttle would of course be that the signing presaged a trade of David Price. One does not necessarily follow the other, though.

More fundamentally, let’s recall that Burnett has decided to pitch in 2014, and coming off a season in which he logged a 107 ERA+ and 209 strikeouts in 191 innings, there should be a healthy market for his services. As noted before, Burnett lives in Maryland, so that may give the Orioles an edge when it comes to luring the 37-year-old right-hander.

New loan could end Mets money problems

New loan could end Mets money problems…bUT tHE cOUPONS WILL STILL ACT LIKE THEY ALWAYS DO.

By Josh Kosman

January 30, 2014 | 9:55pm

The Mets’ owners appear to be on the verge of finally putting the team’s financial problems behind them, The Post has learned.

Cash-strapped Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who faced perhaps an insurmountable spring principal payment on their $250 million loan, are close to refinancing the note, sources said.

“This will be oversubscribed,” a source considering investing in the Bank of America refinancing said.

The re-fi — the biggest off-field hurdle the team faced this off-season — will likely close in February or March, the source said.

Until recently, it wasn’t certain investors weren’t going to insist the team owners pay down some of the loan to get the refinancing done.

Wilpon and Katz will not be asked for any cash paydown, sources said.

Plus, interest payments are expected to stay about the same, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The rate will likely end up at Libor, plus 300 basis points, or a shade under 4 percent, a source said.

The seven-year re-fi will give Wilpon and Katz much- desired financial breathing room, sources said.

For the longtime friends and team owners, it is perhaps the best outcome they could have hoped for.

For Mets fans hoping for new ownership to breathe new life — along with some power and pitching — into the line-up, perhaps the news is less thrilling.

There is a bit of a silver-lining for critics of Wilpon and Katz: There are no payroll limits written into the re-worked loan, a source added.

The existing loan restricts the team from greatly expanding payroll.

For 2014, the Mets are expected to slightly increase payroll to more than $90 million from $85 million.

The Mets spent $87 million in the off-season signing Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young.

Mets sources believe payroll will increase slowly in coming years, but probably won’t get back to 2010’s $140 million level anytime soon.

The Mets — which still have to make their interest payments — lost more than $10 million in 2013.

Depending on attendance and payroll, the team could turn a profit this year since the value of a new national TV deal jumps by $25 million per team.

Mets attendance has fallen for five straight years. Last year they drew 26,695 fans per game.

Still, this is quite an Amazin’ comeback for the Mets, who didn’t have the cash to make revenue-sharing payments in 2010 and 2011 — forcing them to borrow $65 million from Major League Baseball and Bank of America, sources said.

“The fact they are still here after Madoff is a miracle,” a sports industry source said, referring to the financial hit Wilpon and Katz took in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

In 2012, the Mets were able to raise $240 million by selling 40 percent of the team to a group of minority investors that included hedge-fund honcho Steve Cohen and comedian Bill Maher.

The minority stake sales allowed Wilpon and Katz to pay off MLB and BofA. In addition, the partners paid more than $100 million toward $430 million of team debt that they are now in the process of refinancing.

A Mets spokesman declined to comment.