Photo: Corey Sipkin/New York Post
Steve Cohen purchased the Mets for $2.4 billion on Sept 14, 2020. Baseball owners approved his sale on Oct. 30, 2020, and the sale was completed on Nov. 6, 2020.
To say his experience in his first year as Mets owner was interesting is an understatement.
The Mets not only failed to make the playoffs, but they underachieved with a 77-85 losing record. Their ace Jacob deGrom suffered through six injuries this season that had him missed the rest of the season in July. Their hitters failed to get big hits in tight games. They found ways to lose. Cohen expressed his frustration on his players on Twitter. In the end, they quit on their beleaguered manager Luis Rojas and themselves.
Rojas paid for the team’s struggles by not being retained for next season as the team’s manager. So not only Cohen has to hire the president of baseball operations to oversee the Mets, but he needs to find the next manager, too.
Cohen knew this would not be easy from watching the Mets afar as a once minority owner, but even he didn’t know how bad the Mets were that he has to get both hires right or else this franchise will be in purgatory for a long time.
If he does not get Theo Epstein or Billy Beane to run his team, then his credibility takes a hit as an owner. No one can blame the Wilpons anymore since they are not around. This is Cohen’s team now. He is the point man to get either of the men to save his sorry franchise.
Cohen mentioned he does not want anyone learning on the job on his own dime when he introduced himself to the media and Mets fans after his sale was official. He is absolutely right. This franchise is such a mess that hiring a novice to oversee the Mets would be asking for trouble. In a major media market like New York, it would be risky to hire a Zack Scott or Jared Porter type again after both flopped as Mets executives. Fans truly want hope, and hiring a guy learning on the job would not be an inspiring hire.
If Cohen can’t lure a Beane or Epstein, honestly, who he can lure? Why would anyone want to work for the Mets if he can’t get those guys? Already, he lost credibility in the baseball industry with him tweeting his frustrations on the team. I don’t think people in the industry think much of him as an owner based on so many unnamed sources telling New York Post’s Mike Puma that Cohen can be tough to work for.
But this is where Cohen has to come through. Mets fans are counting on him to get it done. This is where he earns his chops and credibility right there. He needs to convince either Beane or Epstein that he and this franchise are worth the time for either of them.
No one said this would be easy. Nothing is easy in life. How a person handles a tough situation shows mettle and savviness. We are going to find out what Cohen is here as an owner. This is his seminal moment. It’s not about what he spends. It’s about hiring the right guy to operate his baseball franchise.
Here’s why the Mets must get Beane or Epstein: Both men know how to build a baseball team. They know how to create a winning culture. They will bring accountability to a franchise that needs one. They bring credibility with their winning pedigree. The players will know who is in charge.
It would make it easy for this franchise to start all over again and go through another rebuild by hiring one of the accomplished executives in baseball. It’s clear the Mets’ window of opportunity of winning a championship expired a long time ago. They haven’t made the playoffs in five years now, and they had a losing record for the fourth time in five seasons. This screams rebuilding.
There are no leaders on that roster. Too many losers permeate on this team. After another awful season like this, no one should be untouchable, and that even includes deGrom. It’s a tough decision, but it’s a smart decision. Fans may not like this idea that the Mets have to rebuild, but you know Beane or Epstein would make the decision on their intuition rather than worry about what the fans think.
If the Mets hire Beane or Epstein, either one would have the courage to realize rebuilding is the way to go. Yes, 100 losses for the next two or three years may not be fun to experience, but as the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros showed, it works as both tasted champagne for winning championships. The Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles suffered 100 or more losses knowing the payoff could benefit them in the end.
Only an accomplished executive can convince Cohen rebuilding makes sense, which is why hiring Beane or Epstein is the only way to go.
Anything short of hiring either accomplished executive would show Cohen is no different than the Wilpons.