Steve Cohen is not afraid of a $300 million payroll, or the cumbersome 80% luxury tax rate that would follow. If the Mets need him to spend more money to win the World Series, their already-a-folk hero owner will do just that at the August 2 trade deadline.
“I’m not ruling out anything,” Cohen told The Post’s Jon Heyman at the MLB owners meeting in Manhattan. “It would be dumb to rule anything out. You always have to keep your optionality.”
That said, this may be the one juncture of the year where Cohen’s checkbook does not resemble a significant competitive advantage. And through no fault of the Mets.
This will not be a terribly strong deadline market by all accounts. And most of the impact players who are available are either pending free agents or budding young stars who need to be flipped by small-market also-rans. It doesn’t hurt to have cash to burn, but star prospects will likely be the more valuable currency. And at this point, it’s hard to imagine the Mets would part with Francisco Alvarez or any of their other top farmhands. Nor should they.
The Mets have the second-best record in baseball. They also have the most built-in upside. There is a strong argument to make that, once Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer return and prove healthy, the Mets should be considered the favorite to win the World Series. DeGrom and Scherzer give the Mets a more proven postseason duo than the Yankees‘ Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes. And the Mets’ offense appears to have the edge over the Dodgers at this point.
If the Mets wanted to stand pat, they probably could. They won’t, of course. They know they could use another bat to protect Pete Alonso and some bullpen help. And Cohen will allow general manager Billy Eppler to address those needs no matter the cost. But that may not be on the table, even if the Mets are willing.
Cohen’s willingness to spend makes a major difference in the offseason and when a tough baseball move like Robinson Cano needs to be made. But at this year’s trade deadline, it may not.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]