Mets Monday Morning GM: Expect a trade deadline Steve Cohen tax

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets
Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Go get this guy! Make a trade for him, too! It’s July which means we all have our strong opinions about what the New York Mets should do before the trade deadline.

Reality often bites every fan base regardless of who they cheer for over these next few weeks. Suddenly we realize our farm systems aren’t so special. In the case of the Mets, many of their best trade assets aren’t going anywhere. You can have one or the other. It’s difficult, when you’ve aimed to win for several years, to have them both.

While we should certainly expect the Mets to make at least one major move, the other version of the Steve Cohen tax could take effect.

Will other MLB teams initiate a Steve Cohen tax on the Mets at the trade deadline?

We didn’t get a good idea of how teams will behave with the Mets under the Cohen regime. His first winter as the owner was highlighted by Francisco Lindor coming over from Cleveland. It was the kind of deal they would have made with any team as long as they thought they were getting some good parts back in return for. With Lindor, the most realistic teams bidding for him in a trade were the ones that had the money to extend him. In come the Mets.

This has been the Mets’ trade deadline strategy throughout Cohen’s reign. They had to give up Pete Crow-Armstrong last year to acquire Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. The Chicago Cubs wanted quality over quantity. Even in the offseason acquisition of Chris Bassitt, another rental, the Mets surrendered their second-best pitching prospect at the time, J.T. Ginn, in order to land him. We should expect much of the same from both the team in Flushing and those making dealings with them.

Cohen’s Mets have slowly built themselves as the powerhouse we expected them to become. They haven’t gone out and done anything crazy. They aren’t paying a middle reliever twice the average salary of someone in his role. They are outbidding other teams for free agents by small margins. In some cases, players are even deciding to sign elsewhere—like Steven Matz.

We already know there are owners out there against Cohen. They voted against him taking over the club. During the recent CBA, they fought hard to ensure teams that spent over the luxury tax threshold would be punished. Those teams would surely give the Mets problems in any trade negotiations. Other, and more accepting, ownership groups might not be so petty. There’s still a chance they increase their asking price at the trade deadline. They know the Mets wield plenty of power in the offseason. Why do them any favors in the middle of a campaign?

This is the summer where the Mets could go a little nutty at the trade deadline. Last year’s moves proved to have their shortcomings. To offset any prospect price hikes, the way to overcome any Cohen tax on trades is to take on bad salaries.

The Mets, with a goal of winning it all this year, should be willing to play the game.

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