Yesterday was a very historic day in the history of the Met franchise. The sale of the team was approved by MLB and Mayor DeBlasio exited stage left as he announced he had no objection to the Met sale. So the question remains–what is next for the Met fanbase?
Steve Cohen will officially own the team as the deal will close in the next few days and any of us who have ever closed on either selling or buying a home realize nothing is official till you close but I expect that to come very quickly now that all of the approval talk is in our rear view mirrors.
Sandy Alderson will be rejoining the organization as Team President and it remains to be seen if he will assume general manager duties or appoint someone reporting directly to him in that role. Those that think Brodie Van Wagenen’s days are numbered may be a bit off base as his future with the club has yet been determined. And I do believe he can give Cohen some much needed perspective in the formulation of the 2021 roster.
The sport is about to embark on an off-season that will be very different for teams, players and agents. Most teams will be looking to cut payroll as illustrated by the amount of opt outs we have already seen in the marketplace. There are a # of potentially high priced free agents like JT Realmuto for instance, that may be deluded if they think mega million dollar contracts will be commonplace.
Owners lost tons of money and right now we do not know what the 2021 season will look like in terms of scheduling and how the minor leagues might be affected by lost revenue. And Cohen enters this business with lots of revenue but I don’t necessarily think he will spend recklessly. He is a successful businessman who knows how to spend his money to generate success and he handled this approval process with grace and dignity despite many people taking unfair potshots at him.
Sandy Alderson has experience building teams in a multitude of ways as he spent freely with the A’s while building with a lower payroll in San Diego and then did a bit of both while working for the Wilpons. But he pounced when he felt a deal or free agent signing could help. And he left the Met minor league system in a better condition than he was given credit for which coupled with the outstanding draft engineered by Van Wagenen in the past 2 years has given the team some depth in the system.
That being said you get the feeling Cohen may want to make a splash but he needs to be real careful in handing out contracts that could in the long run be debilitating. I do think JT Realmuto is a great player but a mega deal to a 30 something catcher who has some injury history might not be something I would jump into immediately.
There are tons of options and the Mets have multiple needs and that is where recent opt out players who have either had opt outs declined already or are likely to get those clauses declined in the upcoming weeks could be a factor in off-season planning. Players like Adam Eaton, Brett Gardner, Brad Hand, Howie Kendrick, Corey Kluber, Jon Lester, Charlie Morton, Daniel Murphy, Mike Zunino, Gio Gonzalez, and Dee Gordon just to name a few.
These names must be added to the free agent list that already includes Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, George Springer, Marcel Ozuna, DJ LeMahieu and Marcus Stroman.
That means there will be a plethora of options for the Mets and I am not even including players like Francisco Lindor or Nolan Arenado that could be available in trade talk. And I am sure agents are elated that a man who has more assets than anyone else now owns the Mets. But Cohen MUST be careful as spending wildly does not always mean titles–just ask the fans of The Phillies that question.
It is great to hear that Cohen plans to invest money in the infrastructure of the organization and I hope that means not only retaining scouts but hiring more of them especially on the international level because the Asian marketplace is one the Mets have never really tapped into and they must explore all avenues of improvement.
I think they will be a reasonable player budget established but the biggest difference I see in this sale is overriding the budget will be realistically explored on a regular basis and that is where Sandy comes in as he can honestly evaluate the merits of spending. And he can do it knowing the biggest issue is how it will help rather than how much it will cost. And I strongly believe both Omar Minaya and Brodie Van Wagenen should be part of that process because Brodie can also speak from a player agent perspective while Omar is a great talent evaluator that much like Sandy left his successor with much better prospects than the experts thought.
Most importantly for Met fans your days of playing second fiddle in this town are over. By that I do not mean Cohen will outspend the Yankees at every turn. I am merely acknowledging if this were a poker game Cohen enters the game with as much money if not more than every player in the game. That does not mean he will yell “All In” at every turn. However, it does mean when the need presents itself, the Mets can present their offer without the fear of being outbid.
That is new territory for Met fans but Cohen MUST understand with it comes a ton of responsibility because one long term bad contract (like an Ellsbury or a Stanton) could capsize plans in the long term. That is why people like Alderson, Minaya, and Van Wagenen could be key players in the process as well.
A historic day for Met fans but much more to come as the off-season is already here and Cohen has to get the right management players on the bus in a hurry.