Look, I get it. As a Mets fan, you’ve known nothing but pain and suffering for years. The Wilpons are bad, we have bad luck, whatever. I feel for you guys; I’ve watched my fair share of crappy Angels teams and looked for positives when there weren’t many to be had.
But celebrating Steve Cohen buying the Mets? I don’t think that’s the silver bullet Mets fans are looking for. Look, a guy who has lots of money is theoretically good for the financial health of the team. It means that if “Uncle Stevie” is feeling benevolent, he’ll pay everyone’s salary and pay out the benefits he promised. Again, theoretically, if Cohen feels like having a good baseball team is a priority for him (it doesn’t have to be, just ask Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter), then theoretically he may choose to spend even more money on player personnel than in previous years. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that the Mets still had the 8th-highest payroll in the league this season. So, it’s not like the Mets were some poverty franchise that “couldn’t afford” to keep its star players.
At any rate, assuming Cohen is willing to spend money to pay for players and a full-sized personnel group, that still doesn’t mean the Mets are going to be the great team Mets fans think they will be. Mismanagement of money and personnel is still a pretty significant hurdle that many teams struggle to overcome. Paying Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton was a significant financial commitment. All three contracts have come back to bite the Angels. The Red Sox have had their fair share of money mismanagement, choosing to pay Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Pablo Sandoval millions of dollars for subpar production. The Mets, even with their large payroll, still didn’t come close to winning a championship in 2020 and still haven’t come anywhere close since 2015.
The reality is that the majority stakeholder (shortened to MS for the rest of this piece) of an MLB team – even if they had all the money in the world – is ultimately going to get to choose how much to spend on personnel and employees, as well as how to run the team. The Mets will come down to how involved “Uncle Stevie” chooses to be and how he plans to run the team. If he chooses to be involved in the day-to-day operations like some owners (think Mark Cuban or Arte Moreno), Mets fans could one day be back to hating their owner. Here are some examples of uber-rich owners being awful for their teams.
Exhibit A: Hate to keep beating the dead horse here, but the Angels are a good example.
Arte Moreno (by all accounts, a rich guy!) didn’t pay his minor leaguers past June. He furloughed countless members of the Angels’ staff despite it being detrimental to the long-term health of the team. Albert Pujols had to step in and pay the salary for the Angels’ Dominican Republic staff for a few months.
Also, he nixed the Joc Pederson/Ross Stripling trade just a few months ago. (Pain)
Exhibit B: Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox
Another rich guy who by many accounts can’t run a baseball team much better than Moreno. Hiring Tony LaRussa is just the latest example. I am almost 100% certain that Tony La Russa was not on Rick Hahn’s list of potential hires and that this order came from the very top. The White Sox also hold one of the smallest payrolls in baseball, despite operating in the third-largest media market in the country (what other teams are seen as the little brothers to their larger, more popular clubs in the same market?).
The point is, there isn’t any particular reason to be excited about the Mets getting a new owner, other than because the Wilpons were just generally awful people. The Mets aren’t suddenly going to turn around their fortunes in one offseason. Steve Cohen isn’t going to open the floodgates and suddenly give a Yankees-sized payroll the green light. Temper your expectations significantly. If all goes right for Cohen and the Mets, you might be able to see some of those positive effects sooner, rather than later, but it’s definitely not going to make the 2021 Mets title contenders. For now, settle down, Mets fans, and hope that Cohen gives Brodie Van Wagenen the okay to go after JT Realmuto.