Steve Cohen took over as the owner of the New York Mets with a big goal in mind: win at all costs. Literally with costs. Money was the weapon he brought with him to the front office in Flushing.
Cohen roared into Major League Baseball as the richest owner in the game. While Mets fans rejoiced at the idea of an owner willing to spend big and consistently, people like Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno began to fear for the worst.
Now with the MLB lockout knocking some games off the 2022 schedule, we’re beginning to learn a little more about how this isn’t exactly just about owners versus players. Within the owners, there are differences of opinion. Moreno, along with the owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, and Detroit Tigers, all voted against a luxury tax increase to $220 million. I believe in coincidences. And in this case, there’s a running theme.
The same MLB owners who didn’t want Steve Cohen to buy the Mets continue to vote against him in a different way
The owners of four teams voted against Cohen taking over the Mets. Those teams were the Angels, Diamondbacks, Reds, and Chicago White Sox. Three of the four are now opposed to raising the luxury tax threshold which seems to be one of the biggest contentions at the moment.
The Mets have already blown past the luxury tax. There’s a thought they could go even further once the lockout does finally come to an end.
It’s rather amazing that in just his second offseason as owner of the Mets we’re beginning to see other clubs freak out a little. It’s also not as if the Mets have paid an insane amount of money to multiple players. Even if Max Scherzer did get the highest AAV deal in the history of the game, that’s just a single player whose contract we could look at and see how much of an advantage the Mets have over other clubs.
But that’s not the heart of the issue. For owners like Moreno, it’s the lack of willingness to go over the luxury tax that has made this a major talking point.
It’s not as if the Mets offered Kevin Gausman or Steven Matz an insane amount of money to sign with them. Although those two former free agent starters reportedly got the best offer from the Mets before signing elsewhere, neither was about to set a record of their own.
It’s a nightmarish situation for some owners. Moreno in particular, worth an estimated $3.6 billion, has become the target of ridicule. In a bit of a pot calling a kettle black situation, his team is set to pay Noah Syndergaard $21 million this year after missing all of 2020 and everything but two innings in 2021.
So where is the line on how much players should or shouldn’t get paid? Moreno seems to know and he’s not willing to share.