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Steve Cohen talks Mets' slow start, goal of sustained winning: 'I don't care about the cost'

Mets owner Steve Cohen is taking the team's slow start to the season in stride.

"Nobody wants to start 0-4, but it's early," Cohen said Wednesday during an appearance on Squawk Box on CNBC. "During the season you're gonna have losing streaks. We just happened to have one at the beginning."

Every team in major league baseball had at least one four-game losing streak last season, so what has happened to the Mets early on is not a rare occurrence.

And New York's lineup could get a jolt as early as Sunday, when late free agent signing J.D. Martinez is eligible to make his Mets debut.

That late strike by the Mets filled a glaring need at the DH spot. And on Wednesday, Cohen discussed the general decision-making process as it pertains to player moves.

"I'm not making the decisions," he explained. "My baseball people are making the decisions. My job is when they need me to support their decision. They come to me and say 'this is what I want to do.' I've never said no to anything. We have discussions and we talk about it, but those ideas are not coming from me."

Cohen also detailed his team-building philosophy and replied "clearly not" when asked if money buys winning.

"The real problem is, if you're trying to build a team through free agency it's such a tough place to be -- because you're fighting the aging curve," Cohen said. "You're buying players based on their previous history, but they're getting older. As they get older, performance over time declines. And so it's a tough place to be.

"What you really want to do is develop talent, which is no different than what I do at my hedge fund."

Steve Cohen and David Stearns
Steve Cohen and David Stearns / SNY

The above meshes with what the Mets did in free agency this past offseason, signing players to deals that are short-term.

And for a player like Martinez, who will turn 37 during the season, that the Mets gave him just a one-year deal mitigates the risk of decline.

Cohen and the Mets' desire to develop talent -- and to have that become a sustaining element of their hoped-for long-term success -- was also evident this past offseason when they refused to part with any of their most valued prospects from a rising farm system.

But while the Mets under Cohen will be more focused on building from within, they will also aggressively make splashes in free agency when they see a fit. And that could happen this offseason, with Juan Soto and Corbin Burnes among the expected free agents.

"I don't care about the cost side," Cohen said about the money he's put into the team and will continue to spend, adding that he views his ownership of the club as philanthropic.

"That's why I bought the team," Cohen said. "That's exactly why I bought the team. I said in my original press conference if I can make millions of people happy, how cool is that? I actually view it as a civic responsibility.

"Nobody wants to lose money forever and spend money and not have success. To me, I deem success as not only getting in the playoffs and winning the World Series. It's also developing a deep farm system that creates talent over the years -- over and over again."