3 quotes from Cohen’s Mets presser that send message to NL East originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Expectations are at an all-time high in Queens, where newly approved New York Mets owner Steve Cohen envisions a bright future for the team after purchasing it for a record $2.475 billion.
Cohen, now the richest owner in baseball with an estimated net worth of nearly $15 billion, addressed the media for the first time as an MLB owner Tuesday. The renowned hedge fund manager projected confidence and laid out plans for a new direction that he hopes to take the franchise.
Among those paying the closest attention to the developments in New York are the other four teams in the NL East. The Mets won just four division titles over the 40 years that the Wilpon family presided over the team, besting only the Marlins in that span. Cohen’s deep pockets and apparent willingness to spend could alter the landscape of the division for decades to come.
Here are three quotes from Cohen’s introductory press conference that sent a message to the rest of the NL East.
“If I don't win the World Series in the next 3-5 years, I’d like to make it sooner, I would consider that slightly disappointing.”
If there was one major takeaway from Cohen’s presser, it’s that he wants to win. It was a bold move to lay out a specific timeline for when he would like to see the Mets win a World Series, but he fed into the cries Mets fans have unleashed on the Wilpons for years.
Taking over an organization with a history of mixed communication coming from the top, Cohen was clear in what his expectations are for the Mets now that he’s at the helm. Even though he’s now part of a division that includes the 2019 World Series champion Nationals, reigning three-time division winner Braves, a 2020 playoff team in the Marlins and the Bryce Harper-led Phillies, Cohen has high hopes for what his team can achieve in the near future.
"This is a major market team and it should have a budget commensurate with that."
“I’m not trying to make money here.”
For years, the Wilpons have cited their dwindling fortune as a handicap for their spending in free agency. Things couldn’t be more different now with Cohen, who jumps ahead of Nationals owner Ted Lerner by almost $10 billion as MLB’s wealthiest owner.
In an offseason where many teams are expected to scale back spending to offset the financial losses inflicted by the pandemic, the Mets could be big spenders with any of the top free agents capable of fitting into their roster. The Nationals are the only other team in the NL East to assemble a payroll over $170 million over the last five years. Cohen could put pressure on the rest of the division to spend if the Mets leap to the top of payroll rankings.
“I played Little League once. That’s about it. I’m gonna let the professionals, Sandy [Alderson] and the people we bring in, let them run baseball.”
As much as Cohen has preached a new direction for the Mets, he doesn’t want to be the one leading the way. Former GM Sandy Alderson has already been named their team president and he plans to appoint a director of baseball operations in the coming months.
Cohen made it clear he doesn’t want to get involved in day-to-day baseball decisions. While he would be expected to sign off on major deals like Ted Lerner did when the Nationals signed Max Scherzer or Phillies owner John Middleton did for the Harper deal, the rest will be up to the baseball operations department. With Cohen appearing to stress experience as a leading quality for potential front office candidates, the Mets are working to put those decisions in the hands of people most qualified.