If there's one thing Steve Cohen and the New York Mets have right now, it's money. They're willing to throw money around at just about anyone they believe will make the team better. Steve Cohen's wallet has allowed the Mets to sign Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, and even trade for and extend Francisco Lindor.
While the Mets have gotten a lot of players they've tried to sign in free agency, some players don't only value the money. Some prefer to stay out of the New York spotlight or get more playing time on a team that likely won't win as much.
These three players said no to Steve Cohen and his money and signed elsewhere for less.
1) Mets free agent target who turned down more money to sign elsewhere: Steven Matz
This is the contract negotiations everyone knows about. In the 2021 offseason, Steven Matz hit free agency for the first time. He was coming off of a really strong season with the Toronto Blue Jays (after the Mets traded him there) and was a pitcher Steve Cohen and the Mets clearly wanted back.
Matz ended up signing in late November before the lockout started, but it wasn't with the Mets. Matz turned down Cohen's offer to finish what he had started with his hometown club but the southpaw chose St. Louis. Cohen felt insulted by the way the negotiations went down, and took to Twitter to tell Mets fans how he felt.
The Mets made Matz an offer that he turned down despite his agent telling Cohen the Mets were his number one choice. Cohen told Joel Sherman of the NY Post that he was told one thing, but Matz ended up doing the opposite. He was told Matz wanted to return, but Matz opted to go to St. Louis.
After this tweet, Cohen became ultra-aggressive and signed Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and eventually Max Scherzer too. Matz struggled mightily in his first season in St. Louis and spent the majority of the campaign on the sidelines with injury. Sounds familiar.