After an almost endless bidding saga, the billionaire and former minority owner picked up a 95 percent stake in the franchise, and is now looking to turn the page after decades of lackluster play with little to celebrate.
All 30 MLB teams were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, but now it seems the Mets are one of just a few teams in a prime position to spend. Over the course of just a few weeks, the Mets have leapt to the top of the list of preferred destinations, seemingly rumored for every top free agent and trade target.
While a massive influx of cash could mean massive shifts in the roster, Cohen remains enthusiastic about the current core set of players.
“You build champions, you don’t buy them,” he told the media. “We have a great core on this team.”
Similar to the roster, Cohen also aims to build on and improve the gameday experience for fans. Cohen took to Twitter following the approval of his purchase, asking Mets fans what they would like to see as the franchise moves forward.
Trevor Bauer, one of the Mets top free agent targets and the top pitcher on the market, was a fan of Cohen’s first impression. As one of the game’s most boisterous personalities, Bauer was eager to praise the new owner’s interest on fan input.
“You got the owner of the Mets talking to fans on Twitter,” said Bauer. “That’s pretty cool.”
Bauer was recently crowned the NL Cy Young winner. Acquiring him would give the Mets a pair of Cy Young winners at the top of a pitching rotation that has faltered in recent years despite being loaded with talent.
Sandy Alderson, recently brought back as the new team president, seem to have heavy interest in bringing Bauer to New York.
“I actually think Bauer would be a great personality in New York, the kind of guy that fans would endorse,” said Alderson. “We're in the entertainment business.”
At the back end of the rotation, the Mets are eyeing a handful of free agents to replace Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello. Charlie Morton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Corey Kluber are some of the names floated around as targets.
Outside of their pitching staff, the Mets have a pair of holes to fill. With Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos departing, New York is in need of a new starting catcher. The top free agents are Phillies star JT Realmuto and White Sox backstop James McCann, both free agents.
While easily considered the best option available, Realmuto is eyeing a record-breaking contract for a catcher. Despite bringing in new spending capability, Cohen has made it clear that he would rather make smart moves than spend foolishly.
Another area the Mets should improve on is in the outfield, where they lack a true centerfielder. A clear solution would be signing George Springer, an extremely talented player on both sides of the ball.
With Springer comes controversy, as he was one of the big stars on the 2017 Houston Astros championship team marred by the sign-stealing scandal. Still, Springer would fill the hole perfectly, providing another strong bat to the lineup without taking away defensive ability.
Another top option for that position is Jackie Bradley, Jr., who comes off of seven seasons in Boston. Bradley was named a 2016 All-Star before winning a World Series and Gold Glove in 2018, providing the Red Sox with elite defense in center.
The offseason could upgrade more for the Mets than just missing parts. One big target to emerge is Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who Cleveland is looking to offload ahead of the final season on his contract.
The Indians are one of the many teams struggling financially after the 2020 season, and a deal with the Mets is a dream. MLB’s Jon Morosi said that Cleveland would “love” it if the Mets were to get involved in the sweepstakes for the superstar shortstop, and the interest could be mutual.
The Mets are already set in the middle infield, with a wealth of young talent with high ceilings. A move for Lindor would likely see at least one of the team’s young players depart the club.
For the first time, the Mets are finally matching big-market teams in the hunt for premier talent. For Cohen, it’s a step towards greatness.
“I’m not in this to be mediocre, that’s not my thing,” said Cohen. “I want something great and I know the fans want something great. That’s my goal and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Sandy Alderson, who was appointed team president after previously serving as the Mets general manager for 8 years has a similar goal: building something big. His statement was simple and to the point.
“We want to be iconic.”