This is not an argument that Steve Cohen is some kind of hero. Or even a nice guy. I’ve made it pretty clear what I think of any billionaire and how likely they are to become good people. Camels go through the eye of a needle and all that.
However, I couldn’t help but be excited yesterday when I woke up to the news that Cohen was done Simpsons Oil trader and Carlos Correa signed at the first opportunity when the Giants are empty-handed for whatever reason they may have (I’m leaning towards the ownership of assholes, but I’m designed to be). And this is someone who grew up looking down on the Mets. For Cubs fans my age, it’s not the Cardinals we hate the most. It’s the Mets. Strawberry, Hernandez, Honey. nice. These are the names of the knights of the apocalypse as far as we know. That kind of honey does not run out for a lifetime.
This is what baseball is supposed to look like. At least when you’re one of the big monsters that roam the countryside. It’s a good reminder that all the Mets’ previous splashes this winter were just to make up for what they lost. Verlander replaces deGrom. Senga replaces Bassitt. Quintana replaces Walker. Nimmo for…um, Nimmo. Diaz… you get it. But that’s the thing. There are guys like deGrom who abandon you aren’t you supposed to be an excuse to play Damn it’s me!” like most teams in MLB. See what the Red Sox did to Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts when they couldn’t wait to tell anyone those players wouldn’t accept their overly sensible things. offers before staking them. That would be good for them though, wouldn’t it? I have not checked. Definitely haven’t heard of it.
All Cohen did was show people the money could be there. Sure, he may be the richest owner in baseball, but he’s not the only one. While his fellow owners may want to use the Mets winter as exhibit A to explain why they need the luxury tax system and how no other team can afford it. could compete, but didn’t have any fans buying that. All the fans are asking, “Why didn’t my team do anything like that?”
Cohen’s Mets will pay more in luxury tax penalties than some teams are paying on their payroll. Not that the owner is likely to be confused, but that’s how it should be done, will be done, almost everyone outside the league.
Cohen, and the owner of the Dodgers, only joined the team because they were buying teams from the worst. They are suffering property. The McCourts and the Wilpons. Teams had to go and MLB really didn’t have time to say no to anyone. You can be sure that they won’t make this mistake again.
I don’t know what the end game is. If the Red Sox could be ashamed to spend like the Red Sox they already have. Cubs ownership has been branded as greedy, ignorant, swashbuckling Omaha beaks and still not much has changed there, Dansby Swanson’s signing is damned.
And still, The money handed over was still handed over by the suspects as usual. We expect the Mets to do a big paycheck. Same for the Yankees. Giants can’t get anyone to take their money or back out at the last minute, but it’s not out of the field on the left. When does the Royal Family offer a big deal? Marlin’s house? Pirate? Hell, even the Rockies tried it last year with Kris Bryant. Too bad he’s made of children’s wishes, but at least it’s something.
Of course the Mets do not guarantee anything. You can already see where it could go wrong, as their rotations have a combined Mesozoic age and Senga almost certainly can’t pick up too much slack. Perhaps the bridge to Edwin Diaz falters.
But in the long run, it would be better if Cohen’s spending alongside the Dodgers and Padres made fans of every other team feel it was pointless. And turn away. And make the networks complain about the drop in ratings. Maybe even attend. It won’t happen, but it’s the only way. The Mets should not be considered evil anomalies. They should be the way.
And maybe it shouldn’t be just baseball. Auston Matthews will have free agency soon. Maybe he should wonder why he makes about $13 million a year when his countrymen in other sports can make three times that. Sure, it would take one more lengthy outage in the NHL to break the system, and that’s something players don’t really intend or are capable of. Does not outlast the owners at least. But a boy can dream.
I know that most teams will use Cohen’s generosity as an excuse not to even try. They will say there is no hope of catching them, so why spend the money? They will be portrayed as a sick person, poisoning the atmosphere for everyone. There was a time when fans bought it. The Red Sox-Yankees’ 100-year fight in the 2000s made a lot of fans feel the same way.
But it’s not like that anymore. Fans know about all the revenue streams flowing into teams now. They hear all about TV deals. They are increasingly frustrated and skeptical of claims of financial loss or disability. Maybe the tide is never full turn, but it is trending that way.
The owners have issued their weapon, which is to expand the knockouts and make it much harder for the teams to win the World Series. The Mets can stumble anywhere. Dodgers were continuous. The Padres have yet to reach the World Series in this new era of storming. Rays appeared in many World Series as Yankees end the past 15 years. That will always be theirs out.
As stated above, the Mets still have holes. And something of a tight window. Scherzer and Verlander only existed for a few years, and is the health concern still. It most likely won’t work. And if not, nothing much will change. But something must break. Still, only half of NL are actively trying and that is controversial.
Maybe Cohen burned them all. We can only hope, even if putting anything on the Mets is just the worst feeling in the world.
This is my last TMA of the year, so to all of you who drop by every morning, thank you very much. It really means a ton. Happy New Year!