New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is widely considered the richest owner in baseball. The hedge fund manager is worth $17.5 billion according to Forbes, and he’s used that money to increase the Mets payroll significantly.
Steve Cohen bought the team prior to the 2021 season for $2.4 billion and instantly invested heavily in the team. Last year they won 101 games before losing in the wild card round to the San Diego Padres. The Mets payroll this year has eclipsed $350 million in an attempt to win the team’s first World Series since 1986, but it’s not paying off, pun intended.
New York was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak to drop to 30-34 prior to beating Pittsburgh 5-1 on Saturday. They sit 9.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, who just embarrassingly swept the Mets, and 3 games out of the wild card behind three other teams.
Things came to a head Friday evening in Pittsburgh when the team lost 14-7 to the Pirates, having to score five runs in the top of the ninth to even make it that close. Saturday morning, Steve Cohen spoke to the New York Post about the team’s bad start and his thoughts on GM Billy Eppler and manager Buck Showalter. Here are some excerpts.
“When things get really bad, I’m not going to blow up,” Cohen said. “I don’t think that’s the proper response. I don’t think it solves anything, other than it gives people a one-day story. But it doesn’t really solve anything. There’s plenty of blame to go around from a performance point of view. So blowing up, I’m not sure it solves anything. It would demonstrate, ‘Oh, he really cares. He’s one of us.’ But the reality is it’s not going to solve our problems. And I think in some ways it can be demotivating.
“For now we have good players. They’re talented, they’re smart, they’re passionate, they’re veterans. We have some Hall of Famers. I’m not writing these people off. Their record is too strong to just write them off. I know these guys. I have conversations with these people. I know how much they care. I know how much they want to win. This is a smart group. It’s actually a good, smart, thoughtful bunch. So, if I were to bet, I would bet that they’re going to right the ship, and that’s what I firmly believe. So yeah, am I frustrated? Of course, I’m frustrated. We’re all frustrated. It’s hard to watch your team get blown out or lose leads, but I don’t think that’s going to continue the whole season.”
“Then the only other thing I see that, frankly, I’m a little bit troubled by is I’m seeing mental errors that we didn’t see last year and that we can fix. That’s fixable. And I just don’t know why that’s happening. We all see it on the field on a daily basis. And that’s, that’s on the players, you know, and they’re working hard. I guess teams get into a funk, that happens. And then come out of it. These are veterans that have performed before, and they’re working hard. They care. They’re good guys. I believe in them. And they’re smart enough, they care enough, that they’ll fix it on their own. They’ll fix, at least the mental side. We’re going through a bad period, but they know it, and they are willing to own it. Those are what I would call unforced errors that we can fix and we will because these are good guys who are working hard. As much as the fans care, as much as I care, they care even more.”
“This is an organizational problem, it’s not on any one individual. I think it’s a joint effort. In the end, everyone has to put their heads together, make sure that we’re all communicating and being open with a common goal of trying to fix what we can fix and be on the same page. Billy’s talking to Buck every day. Three times a day. I can only imagine for a manager to have to deal with inconsistencies. … I don’t think we’re this bad. I mean, I don’t think any team is this bad except for the obvious ones. We have way too much talent. But it happens. Why does it happen? The mysteries of baseball, right? We had three leads in Atlanta and we blew the leads. That’s very uncharacteristic of this team and how we played in the past. What is that symptomatic of? I think it’s symptomatic of ultimately the bullpen has been stretched because the starters are not going as long as they should or what’s expected.
Unlike Mets fans, it sounds like Steve Cohen is not panicking.