Mets owner Steve Cohen understands the math in continuing to spend with Carlos Correa

Steve Cohen spends money in a casual, almost capricious manner, emphasizing his understanding of his own wealth. When baseball’s players and ownership class oscillate, gamers get angry when the battle is portrayed as “millionaires vs. billionaires.” Don’t you understand, people from the union might say, how many million in a billion?

The answer, of course, is a thousand. There are a thousand million in a billion. And Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, is a man who has more than ten billion. Calculate. He sure can.

If you felt a little groggy upon waking up this morning, you’re not alone. Overnight, with most of the baseball industry slowing down, Cohen was negotiating a shocking 12-year, $315 million contract with free agent Carlos Correa. The deal, of course, hinges on a financial, which has proven to be a stumbling block of epic proportions for the team who thought they had signed him last week. In a stunning reversal, Correa agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with San Francisco, but the Giants canceled a press conference Tuesday morning, citing medical concerns.

The nature of those concerns is unknown. But it was enough to create an opening for the Mets. On a night when Corea was supposed to be toasting his new life in the Bay Area, his representative Scott Boras was on the phone with the Mets’ owner. Cohen had already put away $500 million on free agents. He felt his team still needed an extra hitter to challenge the Braves and Phillies in the National League East. If it takes increasing his offseason tab to $806.1 million, and paying a premium to put Correa at third base alongside Francesco Lindor, then so be it.

“We needed something else, and that’s it,” Cohen told John Heyman of the New York Post.

Steve Cohen (Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports)

In his short time owning the Mets, the hedge fund manager has collected players with the same enthusiasm with which he has collected art. He can tolerate extravagance. Bloomberg estimates his net worth at $13 billion. He is considered the richest of all the owners in Major League Baseball. act like it.

When the Mets’ season ended in October, after 101 regular season victories but only three postseason games, there was a feeling of a missed opportunity. The team may be good again in 2023, but it will be difficult to recapture the magic. A group of major contributors — ace Jacob DeGrum, star closer Edwin Diaz, and popular outfielder Brandon Nemo, as well as starters Chris Bassett and Tejuan Walker — will become free agents. The general consensus was that it would be difficult for the Mets to plug all of those holes.

This is the kind of thinking that ignores the number of millions in a billion—and ignores Cohen’s understanding of mathematics.

After DeGrom was allowed to leave for Texas, Cohen began spending. And he really didn’t stop. In the course of one offseason, the Mets signed the youngest four star available (Correa), the most accomplished pitcher on the market (Justin Verlander) and the best reliever (Díaz). Almost as an afterthought, the team reunited with Nimmo on an eight-year, $162 million deal. As a rookie playboy, the Mets threw $75 million to Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga. Oh, by the way, there was a stray $65.5 million split between rookie Jose Quintana, catcher Omar Narvaez, and relief duo Adam Ottavino and David Robertson.

The expense puts the team’s projected luxury tax payroll at about $380 million, over $90 million for the third tax threshold, the so-called Cohen tax. Cohen laughed at the tax after it was codified in the latest collective bargaining agreement. “It’s better than having a bridge named after you,” he said. He wasn’t kidding – he doesn’t care. And if that makes a difference, most of those trades being shortened means the Mets will be considered the favorite for two-way star Shuhei Ohtani next winter.

However, the team is trying to shell out some of the salary. Correa makes third baseman Eduardo Escobar expendable. Also, the presence of catcher James McCann was redundant. General manager Billy Eppler could try to improve his staff by hanging overlapping prospects like Brett Batty and Mark Ventus in trades — which could be tempting for the White Sox, who have listened to offers closer to Liam Hendriks. With both Lindor and Correa signed in the 2030s, there is little need for youngsters on the left side of the Mets infield.

So Epler will keep you busy during the holiday season. He had served as moderator of a variety of press conferences over the past two weeks, as Nemo, Singa and Verlander all visited New York. On Tuesday morning, Verlander was asked why he chose the Mets. His answer was the same as why Correa, who was supposed to be pitched to San Francisco later that day, will now commit the rest of his career to the Mets.

“Steve,” said Verlander.

Cohen has worked straight and unforgiving this winter. The Mets needed a closer. Cohen Diaz signed a record-breaking $100 million dollar deal. The Mets need to replace DeGrom. Enter Verlander, tying Max Scherzer’s average annual value index to a two-year contract worth $86.7 million. Even after nearly half a billion in spending, the Mets needed another bat. When there was an opening with Korea, Cohen did not hesitate.

And why not? Do you know how many millions in a billion?

Steve Cohen does.

(Top photo by Carlos Correa: Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images))

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