Steve Cohen got the approval of Major League Baseball (MLB) owners on Friday, paving the way for him to become the owner of the New York Mets. In a transaction said to be around $2.4 billion, the hedge fund billionaire acquired the franchise from the Wilpon and Katz families and will now be the wealthiest owner in the league.
However, according to a report from SNY’s Andy Martino, Cohen and Sandy Alderson, appointed as the New York Mets’ president in the new era that is about to begin, probably won’t break the bank for top-tier free agents, at least not in the first season in charge.
That would take the Mets out of the running for three of the heaviest names in the 2020-2021 free agency: catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer, and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. It wouldn’t be smart to completely dismiss the Mets adding any of those guys, but it is possible that a high profile signing doesn’t occur this year.
Instead, the Mets will probably conduct themselves in a more cautious way.
The Mets will reportedly spend wisely
Per Martino: “What Steve Cohen wants to create is the East Coast Dodgers. It’s about targeted spending: it took them years to finally find their Mookie Betts and give him that huge contract. That’s not something to expect from Cohen and Alderson, they are not necessarily going to do something like that next week, but it means that they are going to strike when they want to and in the meantime, they will build a whole infrastructure” for success.
The Dodgers, as Martino notes, like to spend. After all, they have the financial wellbeing to pay Clayton Kershaw, to sign AJ Pollock, and to trade for Betts knowing they could offer him a max extension. But it’s not just spending for the sake of it: otherwise, for example, they would have signed Manny Machado after giving up some assets to get him.
That’s why Sandy Alderson was Cohen’s choice to run the New York Mets: he will not spend just because. He will do it when it’s necessary, and when the situation requires a substantial commitment.
The Dodgers have created a functional organization with a fantastic player development staff and based on analytics. They make shrewd free agent signings, they develop stars, and they make smart trades. That’s what Cohen and Alderson want to implement in the Mets.