Steve Cohen Responds to Other MLB Owners Trying to Stop His Spending

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New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has made a huge impression in just a few short years in Queens.

Cohen came into the league with a net worth of nearly $13 billion and has put his money to good use.

Entering the 2023 season, the Mets have roughly a $370 million payroll, the highest in MLB history. Beyond that jaw dropping number, Cohen will pay an additional $99 million in luxury tax penalties. At least.

Given that the taxes don’t seem to matter to Cohen, it’s not surprising that other owners have been complaining about his free spending ways. Many around the league are reportedly trying to increase the penalties specifically to stop him.


He’s heard such complaints and concerns and in an interview with ESPN, was entirely dismissive.

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“I’ve heard what everyone else has heard: that (owners) are not happy with me,” Cohen said to Jeff Passan. “I hear things from people who are maybe more neutral – that they’re taking a lot of heat from their fans. I kind of look at that like, you’re looking at the wrong person. They’re putting it on me. Maybe they need to look more at themselves.”

Mets owner Steve Cohen signed Justin Verlander
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 20: Pitcher Justin Verlander of the New York Mets is introduced during a press conference at Citi Field. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

He wasn’t done there.

Cohen specifically highlighted that it’s not his responsibility to make other owners’ jobs easier.

“I’m not responsible for how other teams run their clubs,” he explained. “I’m really not. That’s not my job. And there are disparities in baseball. We know that to be true. I’m following the rules. They set the rules down, I’m following them.”

Cohen Has a Point

He’s absolutely right.

It’s not Steve Cohen’s job to ensure that Cincinnati Reds ownership spends more money on payroll to field a competitive team. Nor is it his job to ensure that the Yankees and Dodgers invest commensurate with their revenue.

The other owners are upset not because they care how much of the Mets’ revenue he spends, but because of what it shows fans.

If he’s able to spend a fortune on payroll, what does it say about other markets crying poor? Obviously the Mets play in New York, but franchises in big markets like Chicago have engaged in huge sell offs while complaining about money.

The Cubs, for example, developed a core group of top level players like Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez.

All of them were traded or allowed to sign elsewhere. And perhaps even more importantly, weren’t replaced with similarly talented players.

The Mets meanwhile, lost Jacob deGrom, then immediately responded by signing Justin Verlander. Even with the huge money he’d already committed, Cohen was willing to sign Carlos Correa. Medical issues aside, it showed a willingness to go all in on winning.

The Padres group has shown a similar commitment, bringing in Xander Bogaerts to go along with Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.

But for other franchises and owners, their lack of spending now seems less justifiable. That’s what they’re upset about. Fans realizing they’re prioritizing massive profits over team success.

Steve Cohen is the easy boogeyman, but the real problem isn’t just one billionaire spending money, it’s other billionaires being cheap.