Steve Cohen prefers a long-term approach to building a winning team rather than trying a quick fix through free agency.
In a question-and-answer session Wednesday night hosted by Howie Rose on the team’s YouTube channel, the new Mets owner indicated that as much as he’s a fan and wants to win right away, his goal is to create a foundation for lasting success.
“As a fan, they want me to sign everyone tomorrow, but is that a sustainable strategy?” Said Cohen. “Ultimately, you want to develop talent. You will develop your farm system. For me, it’s the most sustainable way to create a winning team year in and year out. Yes, you can buy players, but you buy players who are potentially in their 30s, and we know there is a lot of data to suggest that players’ performance tends to decline when they are in the early 30s. ”
Under Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire who completed his purchase of the club last month, the Mets have added catcher James McCann on a four-year, $ 40.6 million contract. Reliever Trevor May arrived on a $ 15.5 million two-year deal. The Mets remain in the hunt for George Springer, the market’s best outfielder, and Trevor Bauer, the best starting pitcher available in free agency.
Cohen reiterated that he is leaving baseball decisions to the front office, led by team president Sandy Alderson, and will not interfere.
“Everyone wants to win now – I want to win now,” Cohen said. “But I also do not want to place ourselves in a position where we have not just hampered our ability to win if we do not win now. As I learn, these are tough decisions. These are not easy decisions and you are dealing with imperfect information because you do not know how to perform when reviewing the contract.
“The data suggests that if you sign up enough players in your 30s, you will go back to a mean and you will end up with a potentially mediocre performance if you sign enough of them. … I have to bridge this hole. Right now, the farm system, at least the upper levels, is not where we want it. ”
The Mets are lagging behind in the use of technology and analytics, but Cohen expects that to begin to change. He cited discussions to implement cameras that can measure a pitcher of biomechanics.
“They want everything they need,” Cohen said. “We do not want to skim on that kind of thing. Obviously, you need to measure whether the expenses were worth it. On top of that, you need to train the people who need this equipment and the players to get the most out of it. You just can not install equipment and hope it works. It is also a popular problem. ”
Cohen was asked what success in year 1 of his ownership will look like. The Mets finished last in the NL East in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“That we have a playoff-caliber team and that we have improved our performance in a significant way,” Cohen said. “I would be disappointed if we did not step up in performance.”