New owner Steve Cohen wasted no time overhauling the front office of the New York Mets. Just hours after officially completing the purchase, but what does his arrival mean for the Phillies? Cohen fired GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the entire Mets front office. The 64-year-old who spent a record $2.4 billion to purchase the Mets, is the richest owner in professional baseball with a net worth of $14 billion.
The ripples of these movements can already be felt across the league, especially in the National League East. For the Phillies, it paints a grim picture of another perennial competitor for years to come.
Mets Mean Business
The Mets went 26-34 in 2020, ending in fourth place in the NL East. Between Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, and perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob DeGrom, the Mets have a solid core to build a contender for years to come. Now with Cohen in the mix, they also have the funding necessary to do so.
The Mets currently are projected at an overall payroll of $127 million in 2021, nearly $80 million below the luxury tax cap. Steve Cohen has the opportunity to utilize that funding to bring in top free agents like Trevor Bauer, George Springer, or even J.T. Realmuto. If Cohen chooses to go up to the luxury tax, he can buy a World Series contender right now. In an offseason that teams are timid to pay players based on lost revenues, the buyers will reap the rewards.
What Phillies Ownership Should Learn From Cohen
Above anything else, Cohen is bringing decisiveness to the Mets. Within hours of purchasing the Mets, Cohen cleaned the slate, starting over with a new front office. The Phillies, meanwhile, have been nothing but sluggish in their search for a new general manager. Matt Klentak, who has been nothing but disappointing for years, was not fired as he should have been but reassigned to a new post. And instead of finding his replacement, the Phillies are likely to ride interim GM Ned Rice through the 2021 season, wasting a year on a literal lame duck GM.
Speaking of a lame duck, President Andy MacPhail has made it clear he is finished after his contract runs up next season. He also has said he would be willing to step aside if the Phillies brought in a new president now. If Cohen were the owner of the Phillies, there would be no doubt that MacPhail and Klentak would both be out of the organization.
But, in a time where lost revenues are rampant, John Middleton has put his focus on profit rather than baseball. Steve Cohen, meanwhile, is set to run the table this offseason. He could potentially set the Mets up to be a perennial contender for years to come. And as Philly knows, a contender will bring fans and, by extension, profit.
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