Steve Cohen introduced himself as the new owner of the New York Mets Tuesday in a televised media conference, setting the predicate for his coming regime.
Cohen said the club’s payroll would be “commensurate” with other major market Major League teams and he anticipates developing and holding young talent.
“I want to hold onto our chips until we’re close to a title and need to cash them in,” he said. “In my firm, we develop talent, and if I just went out and hired people from the outside, I’d be out of business. It’s important that we draft well and develop.”
Cohen is the founder of the hedge fund Point72 Asset Management and is worth $14 billion. His purchase of the Mets for an MLB record $2.42 billion closed this past Friday.
As far as other major market teams, the crosstown rival New York Yankees spent a tops in the Majors $113.9 million prorated payroll for this 60-game season abbreviated by the coronavirus. The World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers were second at $105.5 million. Guggenheim Baseball Management has spent $1.8 billion in player payroll since purchasing the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for the then record of $2.15 billion in 2012. They have eight consecutive National League West titles, three NL pennants and the most-recent World Series title to show for it.
Under the ownership of Fred Wilpon, the Mets spent $79.4 million this past season, good for sixth overall, but didn’t make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season despite the expansion this year to 16 teams. Cohen has set an expedited timeline for success and says he expects the Mets to win a World Series within three to five years.
“I’m not in this to be mediocre, that’s just not my thing,” Cohen said. “I want something great, and I know the fans want something great. So that’s my goal and that’s what I’m going to do.”
To that end, Cohen brought back Sandy Alderson, this time as team president, and on Friday cleared out baseball operations, firing general manager Brody Van Wagenen and long-time executive Omar Minya, among others.
With Alderson running baseball ops, the Mets went to the World Series in 2015, losing to the Kansas City Royals in five games. They also made the playoffs in 2016, losing a Wild Card Game to the San Francisco Giants.
Alderson left the club in 2018 because of a recurrence of cancer.
Under Cohen and Alderson, the Mets should be rebuilt quickly, the new owner said.
“You may ask what kind of owner I’m going to be,” he said. “I’m going to be an owner who builds a team that has continued success. We want to create a blueprint for winning. We are starting with our homegrown talent and building from there. When we need to fill a gap, we will fill it. That might be through a free agent or it might be through a trade. We’re going to strengthen our farm system, keep our players healthy and use the best analytics.
“You build champions, you don’t buy them. We’ve got a great core on this team, and we’re going to get better and I plan to make the investments we need to succeed. We want to win now, but we’re also building for the long term.”