Mets owner Steve Cohen has been in charge for just over two calendar years now. It didn’t take long for him to be viewed as the franchise’s savior.
That journey started by awarding $341 million to Francisco Lindor on the eve of 2021 Opening Day. It continued the following offseason with an unforgettable Black Friday spending spree, along with signing Max Scherzer to a record three-year, $130 million deal. And it’s continued during the 2022-23 offseason.
The old Mets regime would’ve still been reeling by the departure of Jacob deGrom right now (think about what it was like when Jose Reyes signed with the Marlins after the 2011 season). Not Cohen’s Mets, though. They immediately pivoted and spent nearly $360 million on the likes of Justin Verlander, David Robertson, Jose Quintana, Brandon Nimmo, and Kodai Senga.
None of this even touches on his efforts to honor the Mets’ history more than ever. That includes the return of Old Timers’ Day and the Tom Seaver statue, as well as the jersey number retirements of Jerry Koosman, Keith Hernandez, and Willie Mays. Cohen’s legend continues to grow with each move he makes, or just by merely talking about what he’s trying to accomplish.
The latter happened over the weekend. Jon Heyman of the New York Post shared bits of a half-hour phone conversation he had with the hedge fund billionaire. It was a long piece that’s well worth the read, but I wanted to provide a TL;DR version.
There were three specific spots/quotes that jumped out to me. I figured it’d make most Mets fans so hyped up that they’d be ready to run through a wall for this man.
The first topic Heyman covered was the Mets’ 11th-hour involvement in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes. Some felt it could’ve just been a way for agent Scott Boras to drive up the eventual price for the San Francisco Giants. However, based on what Heyman shared, there was genuine interest from New York, and the club just threw its proverbial hat in the ring too late.
Here’s what Cohen had to say about Correa and the situation:
He’s a great leader and a good guy. He could play third base. And he’s a great defender…We got there late.
After nearly spending $500 million (without counting luxury-tax penalties), it seems like Cohen and Co. were willing to toss another $300 million — or maybe more — at Correa. The Mets’ owner won’t take his foot off the gas pedal, though, saying there will “always be another free agent.”
That’s music to any Mets fan’s ears. I mean, there is a pretty intriguing player set to hit free agency next winter, ya know.
Even for someone worth north of $17 billion, spending approximately $460 million in about a month is a lot. But Cohen doesn’t mind because of what he’s trying to accomplish:
No one likes to spend money. But this is the price…I made a commitment to the fans. If it means I have to spend money to fulfill that commitment, so be it.
Can you imagine the above quote coming out of the Wilpons’ mouths…ever? Yea, me neither.
Heyman and Cohen also discussed the infamous “Steve Cohen tax”. For those unaware, it’s a fourth tier of the luxury tax penalty added to the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. The thought of some owners was it’d deter Cohen from spending at ridiculous levels.
That hasn’t happened, and when you hear him talk about it, it’s easy to see why:
The tax was 70 cents. Now 90 cents…It’s only another 20 cents. It wasn’t like all or nothing. You have to decide. You either pay it or you don’t. I’ve been dealing with big numbers for so long these numbers don’t scare me at all. It’s not like I’m not respectful about what these other teams have to deal with.
I never thought I’d hear someone talking about millions of dollars as if it’s cents on the dollar, but here we are.
Mets fans had to deal with a lot of bologna with the Wilpons in charge. It got much worse upon them feeling the impact of the Bernie Madoff scandal. That all feels like a distant memory with Cohen in charge and spending at record levels.
If there’s any time you’re feeling nervous about the Mets and what direction they’ll go during a crucial situation, we can look back on quotes like these. Even if things don’t work out how the organization hopes, we know Cohen is committed to doing whatever is possible to push things forward.