Steve Cohen criticizes the other owners
The spendthrift attitude of Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, is a symbol of a growing gap between the wealthiest teams in major league baseball and those who have to count their pennies.
Almost three years after becoming majority owner of the Big Apple team, the 66-year-old pulled out his checkbook during the offseason. Dissatisfied after yet another playoff loss for the Mets, Cohen invested almost $500 million to bail out his talented team in the free agent market.
He notably granted an annual salary of $43.3 million to veteran Justin Verlander and an eight-year, $162 million contract extension to outfielder Brandon Nimmo. This balance sheet would have even increased if the pact of Carlos Correa (12 years, 315 million $) had not fallen through due to the health problems of the shortstop.
“ I didn't know I was going to spend so much money, Cohen told ESPN. I would even say that I was naive on this level. But I got comfortable with that reality and realized that's what it takes to have a great team and to live up to my commitment to the fans.”
A growing gap
Great ills, great cures: In a bid to lead the Mets to their first commissioner's trophy win since 1986, Cohen shattered the major league spending record. According to the Baseball Prospectus website, that amount will be $369.9 million in 2023, making the Mets eligible for an overpayment tax of nearly $100 million.
By way of comparison, the 2023 spending of major league baseball's two least fortunate teams, the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles, will be $61.8 million and $72.9 million, respectively.
< p> “I am not responsible for the way other owners manage their teams, chained Cohen. It's not my job. We all know there is a disparity in major league baseball. But I respect the rules that others have implemented.”
We can all the same note that this disparity mentioned by the multi-billionaire is growing. In 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between the lowest spending team in the Manfred circuit at the time, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the one that exceeded the salary cap the most, the Boston Red Sox , was around $160 million.
By 2023, that gap has jumped nearly 193%. This trend should not facilitate the task of investors who would like, for example, to orchestrate the return of the Expos to Montreal, or to prepare an expansion in a market smaller than New York or Los Angeles.
Partially responsible for the gradual disappearance of the concept of parity in major league baseball, Cohen brushes aside the reproaches of the other owners.
“I heard what everyone heard: I don't like them , he concluded. Other people, who are more neutral towards me, blame me for criticism from their own followers. They blame me, but maybe they should look in the mirror.”