Dear Cohen Claus…


Mets fans are very excited about the impending ownership of Steve Cohen (above). (Courtesy of Twitter)

Colin Loughran, Contributing Writer

As we approach colder weather and the holiday season, thousands of children will begin to construct their Christmas wishlists. They’ll be hoping for toys, games, and anything else that will brighten their days and make life more enjoyable. Here in New York, Mets’ fans have already begun to do the same. Only instead of hoping for gifts from Santa Claus, they are praying that their new ownership will sign big free agents, and make critical trades. Above all else, they’re wishing for a 2021 World Series championship. Barring an absolute disaster, Steve Cohen will become the new principal owner of the Mets. Cohen will be given the chance to turn around a franchise that has blatantly suffered for upwards of 20 years, with a few memorable exceptions (2000, 2006, 2015). He clearly has the financial means to make good on his investment and form a winning club. Allow me to make my position crystal clear: Cohen must not only provide much-needed stability within the front office but also acquire on-field talent that will elevate the Mets to an elite level. This necessity is made clear by the teams’ past failures and by an examination of the current roster’s makeup. Mets’ fans have been “very good” since 1986, and this winter they only have one holiday wish. Lord knows they’ve earned it. 

Historically, the Mets’ front office has been known to be stingy when dealing with free agents. The franchise has often been resistant to any major trade-oriented roster changes. When the Mets have spent money or made critical trades, they have had mixed results. This was perfectly demonstrated by the recent trade made for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in which they lost arguably one of baseball’s brightest prospects in Jarred Kelenic. 

However, in my estimation, the club is in a situation that is quite familiar. They could be one or two moves away from making a legitimate run at the National League crown. During seasons in which Mets were competitive, such as 2006 and 2015, the front office made at least one critical move that elevated the club as a whole. In 2005, the Amazins signed outfielder Carlos Beltrán to a seven-year deal that was worth $119 million. The following year, Beltrán blasted 41 home runs, hit 2.75 at the plate and was a key reason why the Mets made it all the way to game 7 of the NLCS. In July of 2015, the Mets traded for outfielder Yoenis Céspedes. Serving as a much-needed offensive powerhouse, Céspedes was fantastic during the months of August and September, hitting 17 home runs and boasting a strong .604 slugging percentage. Even if Beltrán’s and Céspedes’ dominance was short-lived, they made decent Mets teams more competitive and gave them a much-needed boost. 

Yes, the Mets have also made massive mistakes when they have spent money or made “blockbuster” trades. However, for every Jason Bay or Bobby Bonilla, there has also been a Yoenis Céespedes or Carlos Beltrán. This team is close to becoming a real threat, and while I’m not condoning unnecessary spending, it is historically plausible that they could benefit from a new addition. I trust both Cohen’s baseball and business acumen enough to believe that he will not “throw money” at the wrong player, but it is imperative that he at least attempts to acquire new talent.

Could the 2020 Amazins defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers or Atlanta Braves in a best-of-seven series? Most likely not. While the Mets were ranked first in total offense during the 2020 campaign, the team finished dead last in the NL East. They were ranked only 20th in total pitching and featured a lackluster bullpen. The Mets are wasting Jacob deGrom’s, Michael Conforto’s, and Pete Alonso’s prime years. There is a myriad of contractual decisions to be made entering 2021, such as deciding whether or not to re-sign starter Marcus Stroman and settling on how to best handle catcher Wilson Ramos. While it would be preferable for Cohen and the new regime to go out and make a move for catcher J.T. Realmuto or shortstop Francisco Lindor to replace Wilson Ramos and an underperforming Amed Rosario, it may not be completely necessary. After having a strong offense in 2020, one could infer that this team’s future success will depend on its pitching prowess. I would implore Cohen to either break the piggy bank for Trevor Bauer or immediately resign Marcus Stroman. I would also suggest searching for another stable bullpen arm like Blake Treinen. As shown in 2020, the rotation can be improved, and the bullpen is average at best.

I’m well aware that Cohen will not be able to sign all of these talents, but it’s crucial that he does whatever he can to add at least one key piece. With the right transactions, this team can be deadly. 

Mets fans have been extremely patient. It’s high time their patience is rewarded.