New York Mets: Padres Trades Proves Free Agency Belongs to the Mets

The last 48 hours were the first time the New York Mets played second fiddle to another team this offseason. The San Diego Padres made two major trades, which brought in Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. Both players make the Padres significantly better, but it still leaves the free-agent market wide open. It still leaves the Mets to move in any direction they want.

San Diego was a big player in the free-agent market for starting pitching, but they no longer need the help. They are absorbing $32.5 million for 2021, $31.5 million for 2022, and $34 million for 2023 by their major trades. The $98 million for two great pitchers over three seasons seems like a bargain. Those figures are exactly why the Padres made the deals.

It was a cost-effective way to better their starting rotation. The trades show the Padres are reluctant to improve through the free agents because they already rank in baseball’s top five payrolls. Improving through the free-agent market would push them toward the luxury tax threshold. A small market team during a global pandemic will not survive with a large payroll for a long time. They are doing all they can to take advantage of their small window to win.

Sweep the Market

Unlike the Padres, running out of money will never worry the Mets. This allows the Mets to control the market because this offseason’s two biggest moves did not affect their plans. Snell and Darvish were not on the top of their list if they were even on their radar. Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and Liam Hendriks are still on the market, while Francisco Lindor is still an Indian.

The Padres are the offseason winners at the moment, but the Mets still have a bevy of moves to make. They will not act like “drunken sailors” despite having the money to act like one. Through free agency, the Mets will not lose any of their prospects like the Padres did in their trades. The loss of a draft pick is the worst loss the Mets could suffer by signing anyone who declined a qualifying offer.

The lesson of the Padres moves and the slow churning offseason is that every team is strapped for cash. Cohen’s money will not sign everyone on the free-agent market, but it will not stop the Mets from getting their targets. The funds put the Mets at the top of every agent’s and their client’s list in the offseason. The Mets are using a patient approach with their acquisitions, which is paying off so far, but as the calendar flips to 2021, the sense of urgency will need to increase.

 

Mets won’t be afraid to surpass luxury tax threshold, but it may not happen this season

New York Mets

New York Mets‘ fans have enjoyed a more engaged owner ever since Steve Cohen took over the team from the Wilpons. He is constantly interacting with fans via Twitter, answering questions, and talking about what he wants to achieve with the franchise.

This week, Cohen talked to the New York Post’s Steve Serby about the current state of the New York Mets and the spending plans for this season and the foreseeable future.

Major League Baseball established a specific amount of payroll money for all teams, and passing that number would mean that the club needed to pay a luxury tax. Since the inception of the concept nearly 20 years ago, only eight teams have surpassed it. The Mets haven’t been one of them.

For the 2021 season, the number will be $210 million.

Cohen said that he is not afraid to surpass the luxury tax threshold at some point, but it may not happen right away or without a specific purpose.

“I think at some point we will, but maybe not this season,” Cohen said. “I’m not afraid to go over it, but you want to have flexibility on our payroll. Long-term contracts can limit a team’s ability going forward. I’ve said we are a major-market team and we should spend like we are a major-market team, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to spend like drunken sailors.”

The Mets have resources but know how to manage them

To keep him from recklessly spending money, Cohen brought Sandy Alderson, the former Mets’ general manager between 2010 and 2018, to be the team president.

“He is a real professional, a well-rounded executive,” Cohen said. “He’s easy to talk with and always thoughtful in his answers. I couldn’t think of a better person to learn from.”

Cohen also praised the Mets’ new general manager Jared Porter. “[I’m impressed by] his knowledge, his enthusiasm about players — he’s like a walking encyclopedia about players,” Cohen explained. “I love his energy. Jared is someone who’s capable of taking intelligent risks. He comes with a great baseball pedigree and he has four rings. I’m hoping he gets at least a fifth one while he’s here.”

New York Mets Hire Zack Scott as Senior VP and Assistant GM

The New York Mets supplemented their front office by bringing in another former Boston Red Sox executive. Red Sox assistant GM Zack Scott will join the Mets as their new senior VP and Assistant GM.

Much like their new GM Jared Porter, Scott has an extensive resume working in the Red Sox organization. Scott and Porter worked together for 10 years in Boston. He specialized in the analytic, advanced professional scouting, and baseball systems departments. This is another good hire for a franchise trying to bolster an analytic department that the Wilpons neglected.

Scott is also another executive who is still in their 40s. Instead of holding out for Theo Epstein, the Mets are trying to find their own versions of him. These are people that Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen hope to entrust the future of the franchise with.

This is all part of the Mets trying to build their own culture by bringing in experienced front office personnel. For the first time in the franchise’s history, there is a motive to build for success in the present and to sustain it in the future. While the big-name free agent is not here yet, the front office is on its way to being one of the best in baseball.

New York Mets Opinion: Use Your Logic To Assess The Offseason

The glitz and glamor of Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets have faded away. Sportswriters and Mets fans have descended from their cloud nine celebrations. Baseball writers and “analysts” criticize the amount of time it has taken for Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson to construct their front office and roster.

As usual, Andy Martino of SNY and Joel Sherman of the NY Post are creating headlines based on feelings, not logic. Both are known for their loyalty to the Wilpon regime and their want for Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez to own the franchise. They will have you believe the Mets are already in a crisis, or even a failure, based on the Mets’ struggle to find a president of baseball operations.

If This Is A Failure, What Do They Classify The Wilpon Era As?

Now, I am not here to defend everything the new regime does, but I will be honest in telling you those reports are bs. Despite Cohen struggling to get interviews with his selected candidates, Alderson is a good as a backup plan as it gets. Even if the 3-5 year championship window Cohen is a high expectation, any good baseball executive would be crazy to turn down the opportunity the Mets present.

Why rush to hire someone when hiring the right guy is of the utmost importance? This is how the Mets latch on to a Brodie Van Wagenen failure, which decimated the farm system. There is also the potential Theo Epstein may want back in the game after his year off from baseball at the end of 2021.

To think some executives are shying away from the job is hard to believe. Imagine stepping into a job with the most money to spend, the best pitcher/maybe closer in baseball on the roster, and the offense which led the entire league in batting average in the previous season. To call the situation with the front office, a small concern is one thing but to claim that it is a failure makes it a wild claim.

Just a reminder that as of this article being posted, the date is December 1. The Mets do not touch a baseball field for at least another two and a half months. Should the Mets miss big time on their opportunity to improve the roster once spring training rolls around, then, by all means, call it a failure.

Context Clues

The Mets have the most leverage of any team in baseball. Teams can deny the Mets interviews all they want, but they cannot change the situation they are all in. Cohen did not suffer the $100 million-plus type losses from 2020 like the Philadelphia Phillies did. Agents throughout baseball know that as well, which is why this offseason revolves around the Mets. Them and the players they represent will wait until they hear the Mets offer before moving on. The anomaly is Charlie Morton, who understandably opted for location over money.

For the fans who are rushing to make their free-agent photoshops come true, please take a deep breath. Not having a general manager stops them from signing players, and we have seen the ability the Mets have to keep things quiet. Whether someone gets signed tomorrow or February 1, who cares as long as they are in a Mets uniform? Much like my original article about the sale, stay away from Martino and the NY Post.

New York Yankees Analysis: Will the Mets Steve Cohen aim to make the Yankees a second class team?

New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner

What may be good for baseball and the Mets may not be good for the New York Yankees. Just a week ago, MLB announced that Steve Cohen was the new owner of the beleaguered New York Mets. The headline’s question is will the multi-billionaire aim to make the New York Yankees a second-class New York team. The answer is probably not, but that doesn’t mean that won’t be the result. The new Mets owner has vowed to make the Mets the greatest team in baseball.

To understand this, you have to understand the man. Thirtyish years ago, Cohen was but a brash late-’80s Wall Street trader and possibly not one of the most savory. But that has all changed with his founding and ownership of Point72 asset management company in Stamford, CT that has earned him a near $15 billion net worth. Cohen will not be shy in spending that money to make his latest endeavor successful and see him as a winner. Cohen is all about self-image and being at the top of his game.

The Wilpon family has owned the poor Mets for the last eighteen years. The time has been marked by divisiveness, incompetence, and being cash strapped as the owners tried to sell the team. The owners actually wanted to sell the team but continue to make the management decisions. Several people and associates have tried to buy them a team, including former Yankee Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. A little over a week ago, 25 of the 30 MLB teams approved the sale, and Steve Cohen became the new New York Mets owner.

With New York City and surrounds being the largest sports market in America, the Mets’ sale to Cohen will significantly impact baseball players and, more specifically, on the New York Yankees. Whether intentional or not, this situation will cause greatly increased competition for the nation’s top players. If Cohen aims to make the Mets great, it will surely put a strain on the Steinbrenner family who’s net worth is a 10th of Cohen’s bucks.

Make no mistake about it; Cohen is a smart businessman who will not just through dollars at the team; however, he will make wise decisions to obtain the best players and management to bring the team success. He has already fired the general manager of the Mets and his staff. He had a minor ownership stake back in 2012 and previously failed to buy the team, but now that he owns it, he is determined to show the world that he and his new team are winners.

The New York Yankees will not be able to control what Cohen does with his new team, but they will be responsible for keeping the New York Yankees the leading team in baseball. Everything will depend on Hall Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family.

Several close to Steve Cohen say the billionaire who’s wealth is reportedly at $14.6 billion from his ownership of Point72 asset management company, doesn’t care if he makes money off the team; his sole goal is to make the New York Mets the team in New York City. This is awful news for Hal Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family as they are business people who want to profit from the team, not put their own money into it.

Hal Steinbrenner has already announced that he wanted the New York Yankees to stay under the baseball luxury tax threshold of $210 million. With so many needs, especially in repairing the starting pitching, that will be hard to do, and now with a looming financial battle, that may be impossible. There is no question that this new wrinkle has to please DJ LeMahieu, who may now be emboldened in his quest for more money and financial security in the future.

Hal Steinbrenner is reportedly worth only $1.2 billion; the family has a net worth as of 2015 at $3.8 billion. It’s actually hard to ascertain exactly how much they are worth because of their involvement with Legends Hospitality, the YES network, and other sport-related activities. What is clear is that the family is far in the shadows of the massively wealthy Steven Cohen. Hal is not his father, George M. Steinbrenner, who was not afraid to use his own money to make the New York Yankees the premier baseball team. It should be noted that Hal and his family do not own the Yankees; they own the controlling share of 55%.

Many believe now that Cohen has lost the second baseman, Robinson Cano, to a one-year suspension due to testing positive for PED’s, that he will use Yankees free agent DJ LeMahieu as his first conquest, outbidding the New York Yankees for MLB’s hitting leader and Silver Slugger. Winning over the Yankees will cement his determination to make the Mets better in the eyes of his the club’s fans and the financial world.

 

Yankees news/rumors: Steve Cohen could rattle the New York market with DJ LeMahieu bidding war

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The major priority for the New York Yankees heading into the off-season is the retention of star infielder DJ LeMahieu, and that will continue to be a focal point moving forward. Of course, LeMahieu was hit with the qualifying offer, which he rejected.

Ultimately, that means any team that signs DJ he will have to offer up a draft pick as compensation to the Yankees. One team that has entered the fold is the New York Mets, who have a new owner and are preparing to enter the market with a full head of steam.

Cohen stated that he doesn’t care about making money with the Mets, his only desire is to make the team great, letting the professionals get the job done and staying out of their affairs. The former owners were very hands-on and refused to spend money to increase the popularity and quality of the team, but Cohen has an entirely different mentality.

Aside from Cohen’s desire to enter the market in fashion, the Mets learned that second-baseman Robinson Cano, formerly of the Yankees, had tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs and that he will be suspended for the entire 2021 season, forfeiting $24 million.

Here’s the official release from the Mets following the incident:

“We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB’s efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game.”

The Yankees and Mets are preparing for war:

The extra money will undoubtedly open up the possibility of a bidding war for LeMahieu, but the Mets could be targeting a trade for Francisco Lindor at shortstop. The issue — the Mets are capable of trading for Lindor and signing LeMahieu, given the new-found money they have with Cohen’s ownership.

LeMahieu’s value is measured in defensive quality and his proficiency with the bat in his hands. This past season, DJ hit .364 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. He had a 1.011 OPS and a .590 slugging percentage. Impressively, he also tallied an 8.3% walk rate and struck out just 9.7% of the time, the first time in his career he reached single digits in that category.

Overall, the Mets have an opportunity to add one of the best players in the MLB to the roster, and now they have the luxury of unlimited capital to do so. The Yankees, however, are still inclined to keep him in pinstripes, and recent words from first baseman Luke Voit indicate that DJ wants to stay in the Bronx.

I estimate that there could be a bidding war between the Yankees and Mets, starting off Cohen’s tenure in New York in fashion. The market will forever be changed with this transition of power, and the Yankees better be ready to battle it out in the future financially.

New York Mets: Marcus Stroman Accepts Qualifying Offer

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

After Steve Cohen hit a home run during Tuesday’s press conference, it resonated throughout baseball. It led to Marcus Stroman returning to the New York Mets after accepting the one-year/$18.9 million deal to return to Flushing for at least one more season.

Stroman opted out of the 2020 season after the combination of an injury,, and COVID-19 scares kept him away. The new contract makes Stroman the third highest-paid player on the team and likely was more than he would have received in free agency after spending 2020 on the sidelines.

Stroman and Cohen seem to get along already just fine as a few friendly tweets were thrown each other’s way. There is strong character in both Stroman and Cohen, which makes it look like a good marriage for at least one more season.

New Mets Rotation

The Mets now have a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and David Peterson to join Stroman. The final slot could go to Seth Lugo but he seems ticketed for the bullpen. Trevor Bauer is still on the marked along with a couple useful depth pieces.

Steve Cohen’s affect on the franchise is already showing as Stroman made it a no-brainer to return. Another owner called Sandy Alderson after the presser as well. Early on in this odd free agency period, it already looks like the Mets are in a spot they have not found themselves at in years.

New York Yankees Analysis: Are the New York Mets heating up, the Yankees, or Gleyber Torres?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees have been looking for a way to move Gleyber Torres back to second base. It is no secret that the Yankees are not happy with Torres at short. They are actively looking for a replacement. But in this cash strapped offseason don’t look for the Yankees to spend big on that void, it’s not likely you will see Francisco Lindor in pinstripes. A few days ago I offered a possible replacement in Andrelton Simmons. Now John Heyman has reported that the Yankees are indeed interested in Simmons.

“They are looking at the other guys that are out there,” John Heyman of MLB.com said. “They’ve contacted Andrelton Simmons, that’s a guy they’ve liked for a long time. … They’ve tried for Simmons before, they looked at him at the [2020 Trade] Deadline, so that’s a possibility. And, of course, with Didi Gregorius, who’s a free agent now. He was their guy and they liked him very much. He did a good job for them and did a good job for Philly, so that’s another consideration.

Is there some surprising news coming soon?  You never know, but Gleyber Torres has been making some noise. The Yankees have been somewhat overshadowed by the purchase of the New York Mets by its new owner Steve Cohen. Cohen had his introductory Zoon news conference talking about all the great things that the Mets are going to be doing. Surprisingly during that new conference, Gleyer Torres Tweeted this:👀

🍿

😴

We love the cryptic nature of this tweet, Gleyber Torres, but we need some answers as to what it means. Is it about the Mets, is it about Fracisco Lindor, DJ LeMahieu? Who knows but the timing of the Tweet is interesting in the middle of Cohen’s new conference. Is Torres hinting something. Recently Alex Cora did a similar tweet and the next day he was the new Red Sox manager.
Another interesting thing out of Cohen’s take over of the Mets, is that he indicated by tweet that he is not going to be in competetion with the Yankees this offseason, saying: “we are the Mets, we will create our own excitement.”
One thing is for sure this is going to be a very interesting offseason.

 

New York Mets: The Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson Press Conference

New York Mets

Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson introduced, or in Sandy’s case reintroduced, themselves to the New York Mets fans during their press conference on Tuesday. The new bravado, confidence, and professionalism that the Wilpon’s lacked are immediately visible in a Cohen regime.

Cohen spoke first, and the message stood out like any unforgettable campaign slogan. The new owner wants professionalism, a fan-oriented experience, and, most importantly, to WIN! Cohen said if the Mets are not champions within the first 3-5 years of his ownership, he would be extremely disappointed.

He said perfectly that the Mets would not spend like “drunken sailors” just because they have the resources to. Cohen likened, creating a successful baseball organization to his successful hedge fund a Point72. He wants to put everyone in the organization in the best place they can to be successful. Even more than that, Cohen wants to develop an organization that produces and brings in talent.

Cohen wants this franchise to be for the fans, not for his wallet. He said his hedge fund already makes money for him. Cohen wants to make “millions of people happy” by leading the Mets to the consistent success the franchise has lacked. It was refreshing to listen to a New York sports franchise owner talking about his love for the game and winnings instead of using it as a money grab.

Players Voice, Sandy is Back

Earlier, we saw Marcus Stroman rule out playing for the White Sox after his tweets about Tony LaRussa. Just a few hours later, Steve Cohen says the words “black lives do matter” and discusses players needing their freedom of speech as long as they give it their all on the field. This was not always the case with the Wilpon’s and players with social justice opinions like Stroman or creative players like Trevor Bauer find comfort knowing their owner backs them.

Alderson handled more of the baseball questions after Cohen’s session came to an end. He said manager Luis Rojas is likely to return to his post for the 2021 season. Alderson left the door open for a potential change if the new president of baseball operations wants to bring in someone else. Speaking of the president of baseball ops., Alderson began the search over the weekend. He said the team is on the right track heading into free agency.

Alderson voiced the same theme’s as his boss, saying, “We don’t want to just be known for winning, we want to be known for how we win.” As the Mets president, his urgency to win is as strong a Cohen’s even through “winning” has not been something the franchise has ever been known for.

Professionalism is Key

The number one thing to take away from the press conference is the discipline of the Mets. They will become a franchise who does things right instead of running the franchise the way the Wilpons ran it. The classic loveable losers or the franchise known for Bobby Bonilla strives to tear themselves from the negative stigma the Wilpons left.

New Mets owner Steve Cohen already taking pages out of Islanders’ owners playbook

Steve Cohen has owned the New York Mets for more than a week now, and in that time he’s done exactly what a new owner of a professional sports franchise should do: Listen.

He’s listened to the fans, their suggestions and complaints. He’s listened to Sandy Alderson, who he brought back to the organization and was the reason for the success the team had a few years ago. And he’s listened to what will make the Mets feel like a franchise that the fans and players should be proud of.

In doing all that, Cohen has thus taken a page out of the book from another New York-based franchise’ stewards — Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky — who not too long ago had the same goal of leading that woe-be-gone franchise out of the abyss.

When the New York Islanders were in major need of an organization overhaul after the 2017-18 season, a year where the season fell apart after December and the end result was second consecutive year without a postseason appearance, it was Malkin and Ledecky who had finally seen enough. They took it upon themselves to right the ship and bring some much-needed credibility back to the franchise.

And it started at the top.

Out went the old regime with Garth Snow and Doug Weight, in came Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz. With that duo at the helm, the Islanders outlook immediately changed, even  with the departure of former captain John Tavares shortly after those changes were made. Two years later, the twosome has helped transform the Isles into one of the top teams in the NHL and a place where players want to play.

All of that was a result of ownership going for the cream of the crop and letting those masters of their class do their jobs while they stood quietly in the background.

Cohen showed he’s already had that thinking.

Immediately after taking full control last Friday, the hedge-fund billionaire had Alderson clean house and rid the franchise of the brain trust the last two years who failed to build a winning team, traded top prospects for retreads, and failed to make the postseason. This shortened season in the summer was considered an even larger failure with the extended playoff format.

But it’s not just on the field product where Cohen wants changes, he wants the image of the entire franchise to change. He’s mirrored Malkin and Ledecky in that aspect as well.

Ledecky is not on social media (there’s been rumors of a burner account), but he’s been extremely forthcoming about talking to as many fans as possible when he would walk the concourses at Nassau Coliseum/Barclays Center during home games. Those conversations have helped put the off-ice dynamic of the Islanders in a whole new light. The proof is already there and will show even more when the team’s new home UBS Arena opens next fall.

Cohen has taken the same route re-establishing his Twitter presence and answered Mets’ fans questions on how to make their experience as fans better was the perfect step to introduce himself and show how committed he is.

Cohen is set to be formally introduced this morning as the team’s new owner but things are changing at 41 Seaver Way just as they did once at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike.

We might not see the full scope of those changes for a few months when spring training begins.

Even so, Cohen has already taken huge steps in the right direction with getting the Mets to the place they should be by using the Islanders’ playbook.