Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner
There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.
That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”
That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.
The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.
So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.
Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.
Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.
Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.
At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.
We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.
Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while pocketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.
Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.
So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.