Within the next few years, Steve Cohen should become majority owner of the New York Mets. Not to sound greedy this holiday season, but all Mets fans should want to unwrap these two gifts early.
Christmas came early for New York Mets fans when news broke that billionaire Steven Cohen was making a play to become the majority owner of the team. The 63-year-old hedge fund manager reportedly has a net worth of $13.6 billion. This transition from the notoriously stingy Wilpon family represents the first hope that the Mets could become real players in future free agent markets.
While the details and timeline of the move are still unclear, one thing is certain: Mets fans are thrilled with the potential for change!
With the holiday season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to ask: What kind of dream gifts could Cohen give the team?
A Long-term Culture Change
The Mets have felt like a team doomed to mediocrity throughout the Wilpon era. The team is famous for pinching pennies while their competition opens their checkbook in order to improve.
Take last offseason for example. Major superstars like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Patrick Corbin, and Josh Donaldson were all available. However, while Harper, Corbin, and Donaldson all ended up on NL East division rivals, the Mets remained silent.
The biggest change that Cohen could bring is a new culture. Imagine a world where the Mets actually behaved like a team in the New York City market. Where they approached free agency in a similar way as the cross-town rival Yankees. Where they were no longer content to play the role of little brother.
Every free agency period could represent a chance to land a major piece to help the team contend. The team could even build a championship roster without having to mortgage the future by sacrificing valuable prospects.
Creating a world where Mets fans could recover from past mistrust and believe in the team’s ownership would be the greatest gift imaginable!
With the details of the Cohen deal largely a mystery, it’s difficult to muster too much immediate excitement. While a future ownership change is music to fans’ ears, there have been reports of a five-year “phase-in period” in which the Wilpons remain a part of the team.
However, let’s assume there’s a chance that Cohen does assume decision-making authority at some point this offseason. Imagine the impact it could have!
The Mets have made no secret of the fact that they are in win-now mode. The team has a window of contention behind two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, ace Noah Syndergaard, and Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso.
However, they play division with the defending champion Washington Nationals. They also have to contend with teams like the Phillies and Braves that have already been aggressive this offseason. Spending the next few months in a state of timidity and passiveness would be a death sentence for the Mets.
If the timing works out well, Cohen’s fortune and presumed desire to begin his reign with a splash could be the perfect situation. While it would be shocking for the Mets to pursue elite free agents like Gerrit Cole (or even Stephen Strasburg or Anthony Redon), imagine a scenario where the Mets go all-in by adding multiple game-changing players.
Visualize a roster where they are able to slot Hyun-Jin Ryu into the third pitching slot behind deGrom and Syndergaard. Or if adding Will Smith to the bullpen as an insurance policy for Edwin Diaz. What if the team added Josh Donaldson or Marcell Ozuna’s bat to the lineup? Imagine adding all three!
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Christmas could indeed come early this year if Cohen could find a way to add All-Star talent to the team without sacrificing any more valuable prospects.