Steve Cohen’s historic Mets spending spree has dominated the hot stove league. And one question on many minds locally in the wake of the shocking Carlos Correa signing: How would the old Boss have dealt with the new Boss?

Mike Francesa believes the late George Steinbrenner would have tried to go toe-to-toe with Cohen. But the former Yankees owner would have needed to be creative in his approach.

“He would fight fire with fire,” Francesa said on his BetRivers podcast. “That was his way. That was always his way. He would take it as an utter challenge. [But] George was smart, and George would know one thing, he did not have the ammunition to fight Cohen head on.

“George did not have Cohen’s money. Not even close. George was never the richest owner in baseball. This man is the richest owner in baseball probably three times over. George didn’t have that kind of ammunition, and he knew it.

“He would have been more cunning in his fighting. What he would have done is he would have used his own Barnum and Bailey ways to steal back the back page. He wouldn’t have done it, I don’t think, with the checkbook. Because he couldn’t. He would have done it in other ways.”

It is an interesting take. And a good one. The whole “What if George was still here?” bit has become very played out, but it is pertinent and relevant in this situation.

There are certainly things Steinbrenner would almost assuredly be doing. He’d have general manager Brian Cashman calling the Angels every day to try to trade for Shohei Ohtani. And manager Aaron Boone would always be one bad week away from being fired — with Don Mattingly the likely replacement. Derek Jeter would probably have some sort of nebulous front office title, too.

But then again: The Yankees just named Aaron Judge their captain. It’s one of the most hallowed and revered honors in sports. And it barely registered here because Uncle Steve was making late-night moves over martinis in Hawaii. The powers of a showman only go so far against the almighty buck.

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James Kratch can be reached at

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.