steve cohen mets
Gregory Fisher | USA TODAY Sports

When the Yankees‘ contract talks with Aaron Judge broke down, the Mets speculation was inevitable.

Judge plans to test free agency and is seeking a massive financial commitment. Mets owner Steve Cohen has money to burn and a demonstrated affinity for splashy acquisitions. The potential pairing seems obvious, especially given Judge has proven he can handle New York and the National League now has a designated hitter, which makes him more valuable to the Mets.

But just because something is logical does not mean it will come to fruition. There is little chance the Mets will pursue Judge, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman, and that reality is driven by Cohen.

Heyman writes:

[C]ohen is telling folks he thinks the Yankees made a “very fair” offer to Judge.

Such sentiment suggests he wouldn’t go past that bid, and certainly not far enough past to get Judge to move himself and his chambers to Queens. 


And while Cohen hasn’t demonstrated any interest beyond improving his club, at least one person absolutely could not envision the relatively new Mets owner doing something so overt to hurt his crosstown rival.

“He wouldn’t do that to the Yankees,” one source opined.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was supportive of Cohen’s bid to buy the Mets from the start, according to Heyman, and did not waver when the process was on the rocks early on. That goes a long way with Cohen by all accounts. It’s also worth noting that while George Steinbrenner always wanted to beat the Mets (and tweaked them from time to time), he also had an aversion to causing serious harm to the Wilpons.

That said, let’s not give Cohen a Nobel prize for this stance. He surely realizes giving Judge — an injury-prone guy about to turn 30 — a Mike Trout-esque long-term deal would be risky business. And Cohen likely wants to keep his gunpowder relatively dry for the coming Juan Soto sweepstakes. So this is not a completely altruistic approach.

The Yankees should be trying to trade Judge. There will inevitably be a sucker willing to hand him the moon this winter, and it seems like he might actually accept it, so you might as well get something for him while you can. But it does not sound like that sucker will be Cohen, so they can breathe a little bit easier.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.