Mets owner Steve Cohen is going to have just as tough a time “buying championships” as the Yankees have since 2000.
So, let me get this straight: After two decades of mocking the Yankees for failing to buy championships, Mets fans are now extremely confident they’re about to … buy championships under Steve Cohen?
If it wasn’t clear by now that that’s not how any of this works, allow us to shout it loudly from the rooftops of the big ballpark in the Bronx.
After a roller-coaster ride of emotional hijinks, the Mets announced on Monday evening that the deal to transfer power from the Bernie Madoff-addled Wilpon family to Cohen, a $14-billionaire who made his money defrauding the general public on hedge funds, was officially official.
It took Mets fan 1.2 seconds to abandon all they’d learned watching baseball for their entire lives, and demand that Uncle Steve Cohen bury the league with his fraudulent checkbook immediately.
Ignore, for a minute, that if the rest of baseball’s owners believed Cohen was about to “bury” them through excessive spending, they … wouldn’t approve him. Imagine letting a bull like Cohen ruin your china shop of collusion after so many years of hard work?
But spending aside, in order for Cohen to succeed, he must be surrounded by the right baseball people. Is GM and former agent Brodie Van Wagenen one of those people? Judging by his short-sighted transactions and the disappearance of Jed Lowrie into the Springfield Mystery Spot, we aren’t so sure.
Cohen’s billions cannot undo the Jarred Kelenic trade. You cannot finance a time machine to prevent the sacrifice of Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson in order to obtain Marcus Stroman’s services for one cursed second half of action.
Money doesn’t bulldoze. Money supplements. If you believe the Mets have a championship core in place with Jacob deGrom and four eager question marks leading the rotation, then Cohen can help push you over the finish line. But answer this: If you think Cohen’s money was the final piece to the puzzle, who do you intend for it to go capture? Francisco Lindor is the only high-impact player on the market in 2022 who might be dazzled by dollar signs alone. Trevor Bauer could be outright bought this offseason. JT Realmuto may or may not leave Philadelphia. Are any of those three the missing piece?
There aren’t barrels full of free agents ripe for the plucking annually. That’s why purchasing the commissioner’s trophy is so very difficult. If the other 22 men on the roster aren’t exactly right, the three high-dollar value additions won’t mean much.
Perhaps Cohen’s biggest asset is that he does not hold the surname “Wilpon”. Certain sects of Flushing believe that family was the sole thing holding the Mets back all these years, and it definitely can’t hurt to get rid of their imprint.
As a Yankees fan, I’m not “scared” of Cohen, and I wish the scarred Mets fans well. But after two decades of crowing in the exact opposite direct, don’t be surprised when purchasing a ring for your mantle proves difficult. The people pushing for the transactions have to know what they’re doing, too.