Steve Cohen: Mets will ‘likely’ exceed $290 million payroll

As New York Mets owner Steve Cohen sees it, there are worse things to have your name on than one of Major League Baseball’s tax tiers.

“It’s better than a bridge with your name on it,” he said Sunday at the team’s facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The Mets have the highest payroll in baseball – Cohen’s introduction suddenly making the Queens club the big spender in the market.

Before the lockdown, they surpassed MLB’s old luxury tax threshold (CBT) of $210 million after bringing in Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha and Max Scherzer for a record deal.

As the league negotiated its new collective bargaining agreement and the CBT became such a sticking point in the talks, Cohen’s spending presence continued to loom. MLB has introduced a fourth tier of luxury tax penalties that would punish Amazins more severely if they exceed the new $230 million CBT by $60 million or more.

And it’s called the Steve Cohen tax.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen (right) with his wife, Alex.Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

That’s not stopping him, however, as he admitted his team “will likely” surpass the $290 million payroll mark.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Cohen continued. “It’s hard to say how much… It’s still a lot of money to spend on a payroll but I don’t feel like it’s so restrictive that I can’t live with it. “

After their shopping spree in November and the acquisition of starting pitcher Chris Bassitt from the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, the Mets’ 2022 payroll is currently estimated at $272 million, per Fangraphs.

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You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize that at least one or two other important moves could be made for a team potentially looking to add a notable left-handed bat and bullpen assist. lifters.

“Nobody has unlimited money,” Cohen said. “We are going to be careful at this stage. After a few moves we will feel that we are where we are and we will have a team with which we will be comfortable.

These moves have already made the Mets one of the teams to watch in the race for the National League pennant. The deal for Bassitt after the addition of Scherzer gives New York a formidable top three in their rotation alongside Jacob deGrom. Marte is a true center fielder that the franchise has had for the first time in several seasons while Escobar brings another power bat to the field alongside Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor.

“Everything looks good on paper,” Cohen said. “Hard to know what will happen in real life. I expect a good season. I think we’re going to be really competitive and we’ll see what happens.

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