Friday was an historic day for the Mets, as MLB owners voted to approve Steve Cohen as the new owner. Changes like this happen once in a generation. Stop for a beat and appreciate the magnitude of the moment.
Any time the leadership of a company changes, that company’s new leaders evaluate and remake the many facets of the company. This situation will be no different; expect an entirely different Mets in the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Cohen has already made one smart move, hiring a Hall of Fame-caliber executive in Sandy Alderson as team president. After the deal closes, which could come as soon as next week, the two will get to work building an organization.
Alderson has not made himself available for comment, but reporting from other league sources leads us to confidently relay the following information, some of which is new and some of which is a reiteration of what we have previously reported:
-- Alderson will seek two executives to run baseball operations, whether their title is general manager or otherwise. Billy Owens, Bobby Heck, Amiel Sawdaye, Peter Woodfork and others have been discussed by people in Cohen’s group, but it’s all very preliminary and speculative.
Owens has received significant media attention for the job, and our sense now is that might be a tad overstated. Speculation that Paul DePodesta will return to the Mets is not accurate; he will remain with the Cleveland Browns. J.P. Ricciardi might rejoin the organization, as has been speculated, but that is not a sure thing.
Neither Alderson nor Cohen has or will conduct any interviews for these jobs until they are actually running the team, which is the appropriate process.
-- Once Cohen takes over, he does not plan to spend wildly on the top end of the free agent market. Their spending will be targeted and strategic, consistent with Alderson’s style.
-- Cohen and Alderson will, however, act aggressively to take advantage of a unique market that will produce a record number of non-tenders and free agents. Other teams are reacting to significant losses in 2020 by ridding themselves of players like reliever Brad Hand, whom Cleveland waived rather than pay $10 million.
Cohen did not own a team last season, and did not take those losses. Expect the Mets to pursue a significant number of players in the Hand category (though not Hand himself, because the timing of his availability and the sale of the team does not line up).
-- As SNY was first to report, an area of significant spending will be in infrastructure: Analytics, research and development, international scouting, and the latest in cutting-edge training and conditioning. In this way, the Mets could be an East Coast version of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who combine targeted free agent spending with a large, cutting-edge organization.