Nobody on the planet has more money than New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. He can buy you and your best friend and make you fight for however long he wants. That’s what money does!
Okay, so that’s a little over-the-top. I understand. But it’s how us penny-pinching, nickel-and-dimers feel about people who make more money in a day than we will in a lifetime.
Cohen took over as the owner of the Mets with high expectations. He was going to be different from the Wilpons. He was going to buy a championship, or two, or three. We're beginning to see him put the money to use. However, those billions of bucks are best utilized in a way other than signing free agents like Max Scherzer.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has the money to make players stay
When searching for talent in the free agent market, there are a lot of factors that go into a player’s decision to come to a particular team. Location is important. The club’s desire to win matters. Then there’s the money.
We do have a perception that money is always the most important consideration in any free agent agreement. I understand why. In 99.9% of the cases, those wipes will kill every germ there and you’d also be right.
Money reigns supreme in many aspects of our life—including baseball free agents. However, offering the biggest deals possible doesn’t always equal success on the diamond. You have to do some convincing to get those players to sign with your team.
There is one workaround for this. Draft well, develop players better, and eventually, they’ll be highly sought-after free agents in their prime. Except, if you extend them at the right time, they’ll never actually get there.
Contract extensions are what will set Steve Cohen apart from the Wilpons
The Wilpons got bitten by several extensions. The David Wright move backfired due to injury. Extensions for Juan Lagares and Jon Niese turned out to be outright mistakes. They did eventually allow for the most obvious of extensions to take place when Jacob deGrom got his.
For the most part, however, the front office in Flushing stayed away from locking up players long-term. Even outside of extensions, many of the club’s best players would not re-sign in the offseason after testing the free agent waters.
The era of Mets extensions may have begun last winter when Francisco Lindor got his massive deal right before Opening Day. No other deals appear imminent, but an extension for someone like Pete Alonso feels like it could be around the corner in a few years.
Not every player that has a good season or two will become an automatic lock to get an extension. Remember when only a few short years ago it felt like Jeff McNeil could get one? What about Brandon Nimmo? Can we overlook his track record of injuries and award him with an early long-term deal?
The Mets will need to be smart about them. Fortunately, the possibility now exists. It never felt real under the previous ownership.
New York isn’t everyone’s cup of tea—or cawfee in some cases. You don’t always get your opportunity to pry players away from other clubs. With extensions, you can stiff-arm the other 29 teams and pay those big bucks to deserving players without thinking twice.