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First squad workout, Starling Marte's painful 2022, and an owner's undying commitment
The Mets are in full swing after their first full squad workout of the spring. Plus, how owner Steve Cohen is committed to winning at all costs.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets enjoyed their first full squad workout of Spring Training on Monday
Sandy Alderson is officially no longer the Mets acting team president, transitioning to an advisory role, according to owner Steve Cohen
RF Starling Marte admitted to playing through most of the 2022 in pain, dealing with oblique, quadricep and groin issues, in addition to breaking his finger in September (MLB.com)
RHP Max Scherzer is set to make his first Grapefruit League start on Sunday vs the Nationals
RHP Stephen Ridings is “behind” other Mets pitchers and is still a couple weeks away from throwing after tearing his lat muscle last season (Newsday)
Steve Cohen is committed to winning, no matter what anyone else thinks ✍🏻
“They laid down the rules and I’m following them.”
Those were the words of Mets owner Steve Cohen when meeting the media on Monday, asked what his thoughts were on other owners being unhappy with New York’s offseason spending spree.
It’s pretty amazing that this franchise has come this far, just two-and-a-half years removed from the dark cloud that the Wilpon ownership brought for so many years. Now, in year three of a new regime, we already have owners of several other clubs openly complaining that the Mets are spending too much money.
To that, I say ‘boo-f*cking-hoo.’ And apparently, so does Steve Cohen.
“My job is to build a great ball club and interact with the fans,” Cohen said on Monday. “When I do something, I don’t do it halfway. When I’m in, I’m all in. I don’t accept mediocrity well. So I have to set high expectations and if it requires me to invest in this club, then I’m going to do it.”
This past offseason, New York doled out $546.6 million in guaranteed contracts – and that isn’t even including the 12-year, $315 million deal that they planned on giving to Carlos Correa before a failed physical doomed that process. The baseball world certainly took notice to this dive into the deep end of the pool by the Mets, as owners of other clubs were being pushed by reporters and their fans for not spending, while others spent their winter’s whining to reporters under the condition of anonymity. Even further, because of the big spending of the Mets (and a handful of others), Major League Baseball announced the creation of an economic reform committee.
“Maybe they should just take his [luxury tax] money and say ‘thank you,’” one rival executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney in regards to Cohen.
To me, this all comes off as rather ridiculous.
In a sport where billionaires are consistently reeling in profits hand over fist, why are so many focusing their ire on the few that are using a portion of those profits to invest in players to make their teams better, and thus putting a better product on the field for the fans that are investing all of that money in the first place?
There is no award for the team that did the best while spending the least amount of money, and it’s not exactly as if a team spending the least is going to give their fans refunds for putting an inferior product on the field year-after-year-after-year.
Yes, Pittsburgh, I’m talking to you here – among others.
In 2023, Justin Verlander alone will make more guaranteed money than the entire Oakland Athletics payroll… and our first instinct to hearing this is to blame the Mets of all teams? No, instead, maybe it’s time that we point the swords at the teams that are pocketing buckets full of cash every season despite not even making a half-assed effort toward meaningful contention.
The league adding extra playoff teams every few years should not minimize this issue, either. Just because there’s the possibility of your team stumbling into the postseason with 80-something wins does not mean that should be your ultimate goal or something to throw a parade for.
There is simply no excuse for there to be nine teams in the league, in this day-in-age, to trot out payrolls under $100 million entering the season. The Mets alone sit nearly $200 million above what the league average payroll is in 2023 and again… people want to focus their anger toward the team that’s actually out here giving a shit.
At the end of the day this sport is about trying to win championships, putting your best product out on the diamond that you possibly can and reinvesting the fans’ hard-earned money toward the roster and amenities that your franchise is putting out every season. Those organizations that would currently rather use their logos as perennial piggybanks instead of giving their all to their respective fanbases are the ones that are hurting the sport of baseball in a criminal way.
It is not on Steve Cohen or the Mets for the failures of so many other owners across this league. If they feel that the payroll discrepancies are so incredibly unfair, they are all capable of making up that gap if they choose to do so. But they’ve already made their choice. Instead, they’d rather just throw the “small market” card out there in blatantly transparent ways to try and eventually tip the scales and change the rules so that their hands won’t be forced into spending more of their profits on their own teams.
For Cohen, though, it is clear that this is never going to be an issue. This owner has shown since the day he walked through this door that nothing will stop him toward his goal to making the New York Mets perennial contenders for a world championship. In the end, that should be the one and only goal for any and all owners of a professional sports team — nothing else.
Around the League 🚩
The Dbacks have opened conversations up with rookie OF Corbin Carroll on a potential long-term contract extension (Arizona Republic)
The Mariners and INF Kean Wong, brother of 2B Kolten Wong, agreed to a minor league deal (Seattle Times)
Former Guardians and Cubs 2B Jason Kipnis formally announced his retirement from baseball on Monday
Guardians No. 1 prospect RHP Daniel Espino will be shut down from throwing for the next eight weeks