Written By: Sal Vassallo
Since last year, we had known that the Wilpon and Katz ownership would soon be gone after being the partial owners of the Mets since 1986 and priority owners in 2002.
The ownership headed by Fred Wilpon had its ups and downs in 34 years with the blue and orange. Highs included the 2000 and 2015 National league championships, the Yoenis Cespedes trade in 2015, and signing Carlos Beltran to a huge deal in 2005. However, the team was also met with huge lows throughout the Wilpon era. In 2007-08, the Mets suffered some of the worst collapses in history, and from then until 2015, they went on to struggle, continually missing the playoffs. Financially, the team suffered a huge blow for the Wilpons part in the Bernie Madoff scandal of 2011. The Mets have also had horrible luck when it comes to the few big contracts they have been able to hand out, such as Jason Bay and Yoenis Cespedes (extension). The Madoff scandal and Wilpon/Katz’s inability to put the right leaders in place and never giving them or the Mets players a chance to succeed was ultimately their downfall. So late 2019, the Mets ownership announced it was selling the Mets due to financial reasons. In February of this season, Steve Cohen and Mets now-former ownership had a deal that saw a 2.6 billion dollar bid fall apart due to miscommunications among parties as the deal was being negotiated.
Although Cohen appeared out of the picture, the Mets ownership was still looking to sell, setting an August 31st deadline for bids on the team. Despite initially walking away, Cohen entered a second bidding war for the team. Other bidders included Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Alex Rodriguez, and Jennifer Lopez, who led a group that included JP Morgan Chase, Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola, and Vitaminwater co-founder Mike Repole. In spite of all the competition, Cohen emerged to beat out all other suitors with the Mets and Cohen reaching a 2.4 billion dollar deal for Cohen to become the majority owner of the team.
The deal became official as of October 30th, 2020, with the MLB owners voting 25-4 to approve Steve Cohen and NYC mayor Bill De Blasio signing off on the deal. So with the deal becoming final in the coming days, the Mets look to be headed into a new era. Cohen has already said he will bring in baseball people to make baseball decisions. Something he started off well with when he brought back Sandy Alderson as the Mets new president of baseball operations. Alderson did a wonderful job with the Mets despite being handcuffed by ownership. His highlights include trading RA Dickey for Noah Syndergaard and Travis D’Arnaud, drafting Michael Conforto, and making the trade for Yoenis Cespedes that catapulted the Mets to the playoffs in 2015. Alderson will certainly look to replenish the farm system with young talent after the Mets farm has been decimated by current GM, Brodie Van Wagenen.
Before Cohen even officially owned the Mets, he started laying down plans to fix the Mets from the top down. Fixing the infrastructure and the analytics department came first. As I mentioned before, Cohen also plans on bringing even baseball seasoned executives to help build the Mets into a winner. Better days are ahead for the Mets, who finally look like they will operate like a big market team and could even be involved in a bidding war for free agents such as Trevor Bauer and next year, Francisco Lindor. As a fan of the Mets since 2005, it brings me great joy to know that the team can now bring the bigger names in free agency to Queens. I keep seeing all these great things about Cohen like how his father-in-law has been a Mets season ticket holder for 20+ years and of course, he and his wife Alex are huge Mets fans themselves. Like YES, network’s Michael Kay said I won’t dance in the Wilpons graves so to speak, now that they are no longer in control of the Mets, but it is nice to see the Mets being owned by someone who has the potential to consistently put a contender on the field year in and year out. Especially with Sandy Alderson back as team president, this team looks ready to build a winner. Good luck to Steve Cohen and a happy day for Mets fans!!!