Steve Cohen’s Billionaire Backing: The Key to the New York Mets’ Future Success

The New York Mets Are Going Nowhere Fast
By Matt Musico
It’s back to the drawing board for the New York Mets.
The club just struck out on Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who ended up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers are in the news again, rounding out an entire offseason where they went all-in on the free-agent market.
Unlike the Mets, who were believed to have been ready to spend money and the energy to win his services, it looks like the Dodgers are the only ones ready for battle.
“The NL West just got that much more difficult,” reads an internal memo circulating in the Mets’ organization.
The document goes on to echo the sentiments of the team’s fanbase.
Last November, when hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen officially took over as the team’s owner, expectations soared.
Mets fans thought their team would be a real player in free agency.
Instead, they’re being reminded in a harsh way that success in MLB isn’t as easy as waving one’s checkbook around.
It’s a compelling business model, for sure. But it’s one that few organizations can effectively pull off.
Misguided optimism might be the best way to describe what’s happening within the organization right now.
The club hasn’t done everything right since Cohen took over, but it was Cohen taking over that was supposed to fix everything the Wilpons could not.
At the risk of getting laughed out of sports writing, what’s so different about the Amazins and Dodgers? I know, I know, but strip away the organizational stability, player development, and past decade of success, and the foundations aren’t too dissimilar.
The comment just a year ago was that the Mets were ready to walk away from all those outdated misconceptions and compete on a level playing field.
But then something as mundane as payroll flexibility becomes a buzzkill.
The days of Steve Cohen erasing a penchant for penny-pinching for good were stopped dead in their tracks just as quickly as they started.
Has anything really changed for the New York Mets?

Again, it goes back to the original question: What’s wrong with the New York Mets?

It didn’t even matter how many zeroes they tacked on to a contract offer – throwing more money at someone than another team did doesn’t necessarily guarantee the acquisition of the elite pitching coach or starting pitcher a team wanted.
From a financial standpoint, all these missed opportunities should be raising some eyebrows in the front office.
Depending on how much money was made (or lost) from triggered escalators or incentives not earned, it only takes one move to turn a celebratory offseason into a disappointing one.
Steve Cohen and his ownership group have plenty of money to throw around.
What’s to keep New York’s other team from leapfrogging its cross-town rival the way Man City usurped Man United?
There’s only a finite amount of real estate, and eventually, the multi-billionaire owners will push out the millionaires, or at least relegate them to AFC Bournemouth status. If you root for a club whose ownership group is worth less than what the Dodgers shelled out this offseason, you might be proper f*cked. And that’s especially true in a sport without a salary cap. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts are really good, but are they really their salaries good?
If a roster is nothing more than a bunch of superheroes (in this case, the Dodgers), lesser organizations are left to say, “What about the money?” That statement makes sense for the ones marveling and the ones finding themselves on the losing end of a game.
The pundits appalled by the Dodgers’ hostile takeover of MLB clearly haven’t been paying attention to business outside of baseball.
Misguided optimism might be the best way to describe what’s happening within the organization right now.
It’s also kind of hard to become Man City when the Dodgers have accounted for more than half of all money dropped in free agency thus far. That said, the Mets were the big spenders a year ago, and though it blew up in their faces like a novelty cigar, big market + hedge fund owner = success, correct?
“Sure doesn’t seem like the kids are all right,” as one Mets executive reportedly muttered in a different part of the organization’s building.
The Mets have no realistic plan to sell a turnaround anymore, but they’ll never stop trying to sell hope.
Is it sustainable? Is it a chance worth taking?
Yes, what about it? The pundits appalled by the Dodgers’ hostile takeover of MLB clearly haven’t been paying attention to business outside of baseball. Is this sustainable? Will it lead to the downfall of … something? No, yes, and that something is probably the least wealthy teams. And, hey, at least that’s not the Mets, right?