With the way the Mets have played so far in 2023, it seems like they’ve been on the brink of big changes a few times. But will the results of their current road trip be a tipping point for team owner Steve Cohen?
He committed quite a bit of money to a roster that’s simply a .500 team through 60 games. New York took the field on Opening Day with a record-breaking payroll. Throw in a ridiculous amount of luxury tax and his total investment in this on-field product is approaching $500 million. Half a billion. With a B.
And all we’ve seen from the Mets has been a 30-30 record before Tuesday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves. That’s not how anyone in Flushing drew things up for the start of this season.
But of course, this is a war of attrition. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Insert whatever other metaphor you want here. Cohen knows he can’t run his baseball team like his hedgefund — unless he really wants to channel his inner George Steinbrenner.
Even with that in mind, though, you’d have to think the richest owner in baseball is getting a little impatient with the emotional roller coaster that has been the Mets’ season. We were spoiled last year with New York being consistently above average from start to finish. It’s better to scuffle now than in September, right?
That’s true, but they also need to get to September in a position to grab a spot in the postseason. WFAN’s Brandon Tierney thinks that if the Mets put together a suboptimal showing during their road trip to Atlanta and Pittsburgh, heads will start to roll:
The Mets are one week away from having their owner turn into somebody we have not yet seen. Steve Cohen is a few more losses away from exploding, and when I say exploding, I mean firing, altering, flipping stuff over…I think the next few days, if they don’t play well, we’re waiting on Cohen.
You don’t get to that point in life by being cutthroat…anyone who thinks Steve Cohen is going to take this lying down is out of their minds.
I think he’s boiling inside and ready to explode, in his own way. Not like a George tirade. He’s wired differently. But there’s no way he’s gonna sit back and watch this the rest of the year, not even the rest of the month, without making some legitimate moves.
This is obviously Tierney’s opinion. I don’t think he’s in Cohen’s inner circle of trust. But still, you’d have to imagine there’s some truth to this. Maybe not necessarily the timeline, but everything else.
Cohen clearly doesn’t like to lose. It happens more in baseball than in the stock market (for him, at least), but it’s not like he’s going to just let his team keep going in the way it’s going.
Does that mean Ronny Mauricio finally gets his long-rumored call-up? Will there be a change in the coaching staff? Is Buck Showalter on his way out? Could Billy Eppler be relieved of his duties?
It’s anybody’s guess as to what exactly could happen. Either way, if New York keeps struggling, there’s no way Cohen won’t do something about it. Let’s rewind back to August of 2021 when the Mets were in the midst of yet another second-half tailspin. He fired off this tweet to express his own frustration:
It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive.The best teams have a more disciplined approach.The slugging and OPS numbers don’t lie.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) August 18, 2021
It’s hard to change anything that’ll make a difference in the middle of August, but we’re in the middle of June right now. Plenty can still be done to turn things around and get the Mets back on a championship track.
Just because I was curious, I compared how the Mets’ offense is doing right now compared to how the 2021 squad finished up. It’s actually quite similar, which means it’s not pretty:
- 2021 Mets: .239 batting average, .315 on-base percentage, .391 slugging percentage, .705 OPS
- 2023 Mets (so far): .241 batting average, .319 on-base percentage, .394 slugging percentage, .713 OPS
Cohen isn’t as active on Twitter as he was a couple of years ago. So, I’m not holding out hope for him to do this again on the Bird app. But if the Mets keep losing, everything should be on the table.