Steve Cohen’s superpower is his wallet. He has used it plenty since taking over as majority owner of the New York Mets. Through free agency and extensions, Cohen has used his own version of x-ray vision plenty already.
Spending money is one thing. Paying for other people’s mistakes is another. Since Cohen took over, he hasn’t been willing to pick up someone else’s tab.
The Mets did, maybe not as much now, have the ability to add a bad contract to the payroll in order to acquire another player. Will we ever see Cohen reach across the table and grab a check meant for someone else?
The closest thing the Mets have done to taking on a bad contract
There is one example where the Mets kind of took a bad deal. The Francisco Lindor trade included Carlos Carrasco whose price range was not a fit for what Cleveland was interested in paying. It’s a little bit different. Carrasco has actually become a more affordable starting pitcher for what he can offer. He has fallen behind market value or at least reached it since joining the Mets.
Deals like this are what we might expect from Cohen in the future. A star headed toward free agency paired with a slightly overpriced player on the same roster will always be a fit for the Mets.
Those options are few, however. Out there in Major League Baseball, we find far more teams willing to consistently spend and those who tend to avoid large contracts altogether. Cleveland decided to change their approach. They have remained a frugal organization in the post-Lindor days while also being competitive.
Eventually, the Mets could become willing to absorb more traditionally bad contracts. As long as there’s payroll room and they feel there is a chance to win the trade regardless, it’s going to be on the table.
The irony is that the best recent example of the Mets taking on a bad contract came before Cohen took over. The trade with the Seattle Mariners was an even bigger extreme than the Lindor/Carrasco pairing. Edwin Diaz was the young star with Cano being the veteran no longer needed or wanted. It was one of the final blockbuster deals under the Wilpon Regime. Although Diaz managed to salvage the trade and make it better, the inclusion of Cano scarred it.