The New York Mets didn’t end up with Shohei Ohtani which only a few months ago would have been a travesty. Since the moment Steve Cohen took over as the owner, players like Ohtani felt destined to land with the Mets. Not in this case.
The Mets were always a threat for Ohtani, but failed to become a serious suitor with the franchise’s plan shifting away from an all-in status we’d seen in recent seasons. President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has stayed in the bargain aisle. He’ll attempt to build a less costly ball club.
By no means does this signal the end of a Cohen shopping spree. In fact, a couple of Mets roster I.O.U.’s could be satisfying enough as long as Cohen and Stearns make good on them.
1) The Mets owe the fans Yoshinobu Yamamoto
No surprise here. The first of the I.O.U.’s the Mets fans want paid back in full is free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Mets rumors still have him as a target with a looming decision coming possibly between them and the New York Yankees on the way within the coming days.
Not a single free agent pitcher during the Cohen era has made more sense for the Mets than Yamamoto. Marketability, age, talent, team need, etc. are all answered. The opportunity to land a 25-year-old of his ability will have a chance to alter the franchise for a decade. He’s not a short-term mercenary like we’ve seen the Mets sign recently. This chance may not come along again.
Frankly, there aren’t any other starting pitchers even near Yamamoto. Even if more talented ones become available, the length at which they can contribute won’t match.
A quick I.O.U. payment of Yamamoto to the Mets fans will satisfy fans who feel they needed some sort of retribution.