It was very predictable. He has an owner in Major League Baseball who spends a lot of his money to see his favorite team – and the team he now owns – win a World Series championship. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, right? Of course, here comes the whining.
Here’s an unnamed MLB executive from The Athletic:
“Our sport is broken right now. We have someone with three times the average payroll and they don’t care that any of these contracts are long term in terms of the risk associated with any of them. How exactly does that work? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
Yes, there it is. “Risk.” Here is another fashion statement from another official from a different team in the same article:
“I think this will have ramifications for him in the future. No collusion. But… there was a reason why over the years no one has exceeded $300 million. You still have partners and there is a system.”
Actually I was wrong. There are a few trendy words out there. Results. System. Collusion.
Hey wait. Talking about how an unspoken system is in place to keep the payroll at a certain rate sounds awful… collusion.
The MLBPA declined to comment on this dirty word.
Like I said, this was predictable. In addition to bringing in Justin Verlander and now Carlos Correa, the Mets have spent a ridiculous amount of money re-signing Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Díaz this summer. The list goes on. And with Max Scherzer, it goes back to last summer season. Altogether, the Mets are poised to have the largest payroll in MLB history with a $380 million ballpark before luxury tax penalties. These “competitive balance” taxes will be well over $100 million.
I guess my biggest question with all this is why? Why is that? Why are so many people so interested in how Steve Cohen spends his billions of dollars?
It cannot price the fans because supply and demand determine ticket prices. One can’t worry about competitive balance, because MLB hasn’t been a repeat champion since 2000, and people are so indulged in equality that we’re debating whether winning a championship in 2017 and 2022 makes a team a “dynasty”. Plus, the team with the highest payroll has won the World Series (2018 Red Sox) once since 2009, and the Mets were back in the first round last year.
Are player salaries too high? Dude, it looks like billionaire owners won’t willingly pay their employees more money than they can spare. Welcome to capitalism for anyone new here.
Will “small market” teams be priced off the market? If you’re going to act with this line of thinking, you’re going to have to explain to the Padres. The San Diego market is one of the smallest in Major League Baseball (here’s a study where only Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee are smaller among MLB cities). The Padres are running a payroll of over $200 million through 2023, and throttling the operation doesn’t seem interesting.
The biggest “problem” here is that the Padres have disclosed that their spending is too cheap for many MLB owners to spend on superstars during their free agency years. They care more about saving their money than putting the best possible product on the field for their fans. Kudos to like-minded folks at Cohen and Padres owner Peter Seidler, who said there’s no such thing as a “window” of contention because he wants to spend every year like a winner. Remember when Phillies owner John Middleton said they wanted to be a little “stupid” by spending too much in free agency? These are real good guys, not a penny-pinching or family-to-be like Bob Nutting, the owner of The Pirates.or those who whine about or claim possible “Biblical losses” ”
As for the anonymous executives who are outraged at the Mets, let’s take a quick look.
Risk: Steve Cohen has an estimated net worth of $17.5 billion. That little “.5” is $500 million. I can’t understand how running a Mets payroll less than that would have any risk, especially since the Mets are very likely to actually make money next year amid TV deals, ticket sales, and everything else that comes along with being good. What an absolute joke to call any of this a “risk”. This is a toy for him.
Results: I’m lost again. What results? The only concern would be current contracts limiting spending in future seasons, right? I can’t see it at this point. There is no salary limit. Cohen clearly doesn’t mind paying the competitive balance tax. If it has some self-imposed limits, we haven’t seen them yet. Plus, the Mets only have three guaranteed contracts at Correa (when it becomes official) after 2025: Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo (Diaz and Kodai Senga both have the right to waive). This much. Go back to that quote and sort it all by “results on the way”. This makes no sense.
Every new superstar contract comes in dazzling numbers, and of course the natural reaction is to go against seven zeros on a paycheck with no decimal point. Actually, if you think about it logically, there really isn’t a lot of negativity when it comes to Cohen and the Mets. That is, unless you realize that this reveals that many other owners are very cheap and care more about profitability than their fans.