It may have taken eight months longer than it needed to, but Steve Cohen will be the next owner of the New York Mets. Good times are ahead.
News broke late Friday night that hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen has won the bidding war for the New York Mets. The deal won’t be official until he’s approved by MLB and the 29 other owners, but that seems to be a formality at this point. Steve Cohen is going to be the next owner of the Mets.
The days of the Wilpons are finally over. No longer will Jeff Wilpon have a large say in roster decisions. No longer will the Wilpons be involved with the New York sports media. Most importantly, no longer will they be in charge of hiring front office personnel.
Steve Cohen is going to bring a new culture, new money, and most importantly a fresh eye to the organization. There are some red flags, he has a history of insider trading and his company 72Point has been hit with multiple gender discrimination suits. Fans should be worried about those.
However, from a strict baseball perspective, there was no better choice than Cohen. A life-long Mets fan with the money and analytical knowledge to make the Mets a powerhouse in MLB.
With his purchase of the New York Mets, Steve Cohen is the second wealthiest owner in American sports. Only Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is wealthier.
With a net worth of over $14 billion, Cohen is by far the wealthiest owner in MLB. The next wealthiest personal fortune belongs to the Illitch family, owners of the Detroit Tigers, at $6.1 billion. The Toronto Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications and the Atlanta Braves are owned by Liberty Media. Those were the two wealthiest owners in MLB, but corporations are only allowed to spend so much money according to MLB rules.
Even if they could spend more, Cohen is wealthier. The Rogers family, owners of the Blue Jays, are worth $11.57 billion, while Liberty Media CEO and Braves principal owner John Malone is worth $6.6 billion.
There won’t be any team in MLB that can outbid the Mets with Steve Cohen in charge. He’s worth more than double the next wealthiest personal fortune. That’ll give the Mets a clear advantage in free agency each and every year.
They’ll likely spend like the major market team they are. It would be a shock if the Mets weren’t at the top of MLB or close to it in payroll every year under Cohen.
That’s a stark difference from the Wilpons who were worth just $500 million. That tied them for the third-lowest net worth in MLB and it showed in their payroll. The Mets average payroll in the 2010s was 15th in MLB.
With Cohen’s cash, the Mets can finally be players for the likes of J.T. Realmuto in 2020/21 or Francisco Lindor in 2021/22. No longer will the Mets sit on the sidelines and watch other teams hand out big contracts to star players. With Cohen around, except the Mets to be in on every star player that becomes available.
Cohen is going to beef up the analytics department. He built his hedge-fund empire by hiring the right people and building on analytic models. Expect him to do the same in MLB.
This will be another major change for the Mets who currently have one of the smallest analytics departments in MLB. They’ve started to change things up with analytics minded hires like pitching coach Jeremey Hefner and assistant general manager Adam Guttridge, but it’s been slow going.
Cohen is going to infuse that department with cash. It’s the easiest way to immediately catch up to teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers. It’ll make the Mets pitchers sharper, their offense more dangerous, but most importantly the defense will improve.
Ideally, this would also mean the Mets would add better depth to their organization and limit the number of failed free-agent signings. This should help the Mets create a sustainable winner for the long haul in a similar fashion to the Dodgers and Yankees.
It may not happen right away, but look for the Mets to explode onto the scene as one of MLB’s powerhouse organizations under Cohen. The situation will likely be similar to the one the Dodgers had when they were sold in 2012.
A team stuck in mediocrity, the Dodgers won 86 games in 2012. They haven’t won fewer than 90 games in a season since. The Mets have a similarly talented team that just needs a few moves to push them over the top. A front office built by Steve Cohen could right the ship.