New Mets owner Steve Cohen held an introductory press conference via Zoom today along with team president Sandy Alderson. Cohen recently closed the deal to purchase the Mets for $2.475 billion dollars. Cohen touched on a number of different topics, including the baseball ops hierarchy, payroll, and his hopes for the franchise moving forward.
From a baseball perspective, Cohen spoke about relying on his baseball professionals to make baseball decisions. He brought in Sandy Alderson as team president because he knows the Mets and knows the game of baseball, and while Cohen will be in close conversation with Alderson, he expects to learn a good deal from Alderson on the baseball side. Together, they hopes to put together a perennial championship contender. Per Mike Puma of the New York Post:
“One team wins the World Series every year, so that’s a pretty high bar. But if I don’t win a World Series in the next three to five years – I would like to make it sooner – then obviously I would consider that slightly disappointing. I’m not in this to be mediocre. I want something great.”
As far as how they plan to accomplish that goal, Cohen said this, per MLB.com’s Matt Kelly:
“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.”
Cohen said all the right things today, much of it the canned baseball rhetoric that one might expect from a new owner. That said, he came across as genuine, eager to grow the franchise, and focused on the fan experience. He did speak to the possibilities for the Mets’ payroll under his leadership. Said Cohen, per Mike Puma of the New York Post:
“What I do believe is this is a major market team and it should have a budget commensurate with that.”
Cohen deferred when asked specifically about spending beyond the luxury tax, but reiterated his plan to spend, saying, per Britton (via Twitter):
“I can promise you we’re going to act like a major-market team. Are we going to act like drunken sailors? No.”
Cohen owns Point72 Asset Management, a hedge fund that he somewhat tongue-in-cheek referred to as his “day job.” If Cohen’s words are to be believed, his priority number one isn’t making money with the Mets, but to bring joy to a cadre of Mets fans that have been largely disappointed in recent years. From how it sounds, Cohen may eventually bring the Mets’ payroll up near the levels one might expect for a team in the New York market. The Mets’ payroll before 2020 was set to be around $160MM, some $40MM+ shy of the luxury tax line, per Cot’s Contracts.
Alderson has charge of baseball ops, but even he is a temporary head – at least in the grand scheme of things. Just as quickly as Cohen put the ball in Alderson’s court when it comes to baseball decisions, Alderson passed it along to his as-of-yet un-hired president of baseball ops, saying “I am not going to make the baseball decisions. I expect a seat at the table, but not the head of the table,” per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Alderson clearly will help structure the baseball ops department and, along with Cohen, create the philosophy and culture for the new New York Mets. But there’s another key decision-maker yet to join the team. Alderson interviewed his first candidate for that role on Saturday, tweets the Athletic’s Tim Britton.
As for how long the 72-year-old Alderson will stay with the team, Tim Healey of Newsday provides this quote (via Twitter):
“I’ve committed to a couple of years, but it’s open-ended. … I don’t want to die with my boots on. I think this is going to be a great couple of years. We’ll see how it goes. That’s all I can say.”
The next domino to fall in the reshaping of the Mets will be the hiring of their head of baseball ops. Alderson said they’re looking for the “most accomplished baseball person we can find.” They are still putting together their list of interviewees and deciding how many people to bring in. It’s unclear right now what the timeline is for that hire. As for the structure of the rest of baseball ops, that’s going to be decided once they bring in that hire.