Well, so much for that idea. Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a Los Angeles Dodger, and the New York Mets are still the Mets. After executing a full-court press for the Japanese ace, giving it 115 percent and leaving it all out on the field, owner Steve Cohen’s efforts ended in a foolish squat. Now it’s back to the drawing board, or as Mets fans more often call it, a bleak, depressing existence occasionally punctuated by fits of misguided optimism.
Since Cohen took over, the club hasn’t gotten everything right, but it was Cohen’s takeover that was supposed to fix everything the Wilpons couldn’t. While the Mets may not have the basics down just yet and who knows how long Cohen will listen to the logic of the new front-office man, David Stearns, they have an owner who is committed and ready to spend a lot of money, a fan base hungry for success, and a market big enough to attract marquee free agents.
At the risk of being laughed out of sports journalism: what’s so different about the Amazins and Dodgers? I know, I know, but barring organizational stability, player development, and a decade of success, the fundamentals aren’t all that different. What’s stopping New York’s other team from overtaking their cross-town rival in the way Man City has dominated Man United?
„How long do you have?“ the audience asks.
It’s also pretty hard to become Man City when the Dodgers accounted for over half of all the money lost in free agency so far. However, the Mets were the biggest spenders just a year ago, and while it blew up in their faces like a novelty cigar, big market + hedge fund owner = success, right?
That’s probably a bit reductive and overlooks the nuances that play into developing a contender, but the Dodgers may have set new benchmarks with the acquisitions of Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto. The number of billionaires and private equity groups with unpronounceable amounts of money is on the rise, and once they’re in the door, it’s an Aspen problem.
There’s only so much real estate, and eventually the multibillionaire owners will displace the millionaires, or at least relegate them to AFC Bournemouth status. If you’re stumping for a club whose ownership group is worth less than what the Dodgers have spent this offseason, you might be out of luck. Especially in a sport with no salary cap.
That Cody Bellinger is pretty good and had a positive impact on the Cubs‘ locker room last season. Maybe overpaying when it isn’t necessary is warranted. That doesn’t mean Cohen should spend so much money on a spree; just go overboard with deserving players.
Take Jordan Montgomery, for example. He’s been booted from New York once already, so that’s a warning sign. I know Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander had house money, but maybe try giving money to a pitcher under 38 years old? Blake Snell isn’t bad, is technically still in his twenties, and won’t cost the Mets any prospects.
„What about the money?“
Yeah, what about it? The experts aghast at the hostile takeover of MLB by the Dodgers have clearly not paid attention to business outside of baseball. Is it sustainable? Will it lead to the downfall of… something? No, yes, and those are probably the least wealthy teams.
And hey, at least those aren’t the Mets, right?