As the New York Mets make strategic moves to build for the future, owner Steve Cohen is determined not to let the team be embarrassed in the coming season. Cohen met with players, coaches, and the press, expressing his belief that the Mets will remain highly competitive in 2024. While acknowledging that the expectations were high this year, Cohen anticipates that they will be lower going forward. He emphasized the importance of not rolling out a team that will bring embarrassment to the franchise. Cohen understands that spending vast amounts of money does not guarantee a playoff berth, but he stressed the necessity of addressing the team’s starting pitching needs to solidify their chances.
Strategic Trades and the Pursuit of Sustainability
Cohen reflected on the Mets’ decisions to trade star pitchers Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and others. He explained that when assessing the probabilities of making the playoffs, the team’s chances were approximately 15%, which diminished as other teams improved. With a mere 12% chance of making the postseason, Cohen recognized the need for a more sustainable long-term strategy. The opportunity to secure a valuable return in trades proved enticing, as Cohen acknowledged the favorable outcome in the deals made. He made it clear that the organization was not interested in making trades just for the sake of it and would have kept the players if the return had not been substantial. The Mets capitalized on the moment by addressing their long-term goals while other teams focused on short-term gains.
Cohen shared his conversations with both Verlander and Scherzer, highlighting their differing career trajectories. While acknowledging their desire to win immediately, he explained that he could not promise an all-in approach to free agency the following year. Cohen’s inability to provide assurance regarding the team’s commitment to big spending in the future factored into the decisions of both players. He respected their choices and recognized that they were at different stages in their careers. Scherzer, aged 39, accepted a trade to the Texas Rangers, while the 40-year-old Verlander returned to the Houston Astros.
Consistency Concerns and the Deadline Moves
The lack of consistency on the field and the limited time left in the season influenced the Mets’ decision to make significant moves before the trade deadline. With only 58 games remaining, Cohen expressed doubt about the team’s ability to turn their fortunes around. The absence of any noticeable changes in performance cemented their decision to embark on a new direction. Cohen refrained from discussing specific personnel decisions but expressed the desire to retain All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso, who will become a free agent after the 2024 season.
Cohen dismissed any blame on manager Buck Showalter for the team’s disappointing results this year. He attributed their struggles to the players and attributed their lack of success to unfortunate circumstances rather than the manager’s performance. Cohen remains supportive of Showalter and believes in his ability to lead the team.
In their efforts to build for the future, the Mets made six trades leading up to the deadline, assuming a significant financial commitment of $78,915,591 to the acquiring teams. Additionally, if Verlander exercises his 2025 option, the Mets will owe the Astros an additional $17.5 million. The organization has adjusted its payroll this year to approximately $340 million to $345 million and their luxury tax payroll to $370 million to $375 million.
Steve Cohen’s bold and forward-thinking approach sets the stage for the future of the New York Mets. While focusing on sustainability, Cohen aims to field a highly competitive team in 2024. The strategic trades made by the organization reflect their commitment to building a team capable of long-term success. Cohen’s candidness about the conversations with star pitchers Verlander and Scherzer shows a willingness to adapt and make decisions in the best interest of the team’s future. Despite a disappointing season, Cohen places responsibility on the players rather than the manager, emphasizing his faith in Buck Showalter. As the Mets navigate the remainder of the year and plan for the seasons to come, their renewed direction under Cohen provides hope for a prosperous future.