Mets’ Steve Cohen cautions spending doesn’t mean title this year

Steve Cohen Mets
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets owner Steve Cohen cautions the team’s record spending won’t necessarily lead to a World Series title this year.

“You know how hard it is to get to get into the World Series – as we saw last year, right?” Cohen said Monday at New York’s spring training camp. “So the only thing you can do is put yourself in position where good things can happen. Got to make the playoffs. The team’s got to be healthy. It’s got to be rested. It’s got to be raring to go. And then you let the chips fall where they may. And if you keep putting yourself there, one day we’ll get there. Obviously, I’d love it sooner than later. But, you know, I can’t control that.”

New York won its only World Series titles in 1969 and 1986. The Mets won 101 games last year, second-most in franchise history but were unable to hold off Atlanta in the NL East after sitting atop the division for all but six days. The Mets were eliminated by San Diego in a three-game Wild Card Series.

New York raised its payroll to a projected $370 million and is set to shatter the record, set by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers at $291 million.

The Mets had a $146 million payroll in 2019, the last fully played season under the Wilpon and Katz familiies. New York boosted payroll to $199 million in 2021, the first season after Cohen bought the team, and $275 million last year, when the Mets led the major leagues in spending for the first time since 1989.

Cohen cited inflation as a factor in the offseason spending spree.

“All of the sudden we were looking at prices up 20, 30%,” Cohen said. “That was a shocker to me, and certainly changed our plans, and I had to think differently. You know, $300 million, which is still a lot of money, didn’t get us like it used to – what we could.”

Cohen’s Mets signed AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to a $86.7 millon, two-year contract, added pitchers Kodai Senga ($75 million for five years), Jose Quintana ($26 million for two years) and David Robertson ($10 million for one years), along with catcher Omar Narvaez ($15 million for two years). New York also re-signed closer Edwin Diaz ($102 million for five years), outfielder Brandon Nimmo ($162 million for eight years), infielder Jeff McNeil ($50 million for four years) and reliever Adam Ottavino ($14.5 million for two years).

New York projects to have a luxury tax payroll of about $390 million, which would result in a tax of about $116 million. While negotiators for teams and players adopted a fourth tax threshold last year know as the “Cohen tax,” the Mets owner has used his hedge-fund riches to keep spending. That has increased disparity in a sport that saw four teams finish last year with payrolls under $100 million.

“They’ve been dealing with that problem for a long time,” Cohen said. “It’s really hard for me to say how to solve that because I think it’s a multi-variable problem. I think ultimately, I think the key for baseball is you need to grow revenues. And it can’t be through constantly raising ticket prices. It’s got to be getting more attendance, getting more interest in the game.”

Cohen said some other owners told him at recent meetings they realized he was following the established rules. He doesn’t believe the owner’s new economic study group will formulate proposals specifically aimed at him.

“Absolutely not,” Cohen said. “There’s plenty of issues there. The media issues, as we know about, there are revenue issues, right? Attendance issues. So, you know, I say it again, I think it’s great that the owners are getting together discuss all these issues.”

With team president Sandy Alderson shifting to a special assistant role, Cohen intends a more of a day-to-day role in management.

Cohen expects improvement from the Mets farm system will cause less dependance on free agents, calling current behavior a “bridge” to the future.

“People have to be patient,” Cohen said. “It’s taking time. I see progress, and I’m encouraged what we’re doing down in the lower part of the system. And from what I hear, we’re developing pitchers, which I think is really important.”

Rutschman has five hits in opener, Orioles outlast Red Sox 10-9

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BOSTON – The last time Adley Rutschman recalls feeling this level of emotion on a baseball field was playing in front of intimate, 5,000-seat crowds in college at Oregon State.

He trumped that experience at Fenway Park on Thursday in his first career opening day start.

“This blows that out of the water,” Rutschman said.

Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.

“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd get so loud. You kind of sit there and say, ‘This is pretty cool,’” said Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Rutschman – who debuted for the Orioles last May and quickly became indispensable to the young, resurgent club – homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBIs and a walk on a chilly day at Fenway Park, with a temperature of 38 degrees at first pitch.

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which finished with 15 hits, nine walks and five stolen bases.

Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings to earn his first opening-day victory since his 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI groundout in the first inning before retiring nine straight Red Sox hitters.

The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth.

With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.

Rafael Devers struck out. Justin Turner then reached on an infield single to third when Urias’ throw was wide, scoring Tapia. Masataka Yoshida grounded to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who stepped on second for the force but threw wildly to first, allowing Verdugo to score.

Bautista struck out Adam Duvall on three pitches to end it and earn the save.

The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore led 10-4 before Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.

The eighth could have been even better for the Red Sox had Devers, who led off the inning, not become the first player in major league history to strike out on a pitch clock violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.

“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who dropped to 0-5 in opening-day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”

Boston offseason addition and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“Less than ideal,” Kluber said. “Didn’t turn out the way I would have hoped for.”


Red Sox: Christian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an inadvertent cleat to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was applying a tag to Rutschman at second base as he attempted to stretch out a single. Rutschman’s leg flipped over as he slid awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day inured list (retroactive to March 27) with a strained right hamstring.


Rutschman, one of six Baltimore players making his first opening-day appearance, became the youngest Oriole to homer in his first opening-day at-bat since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.


The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s bigger bases – going from 15- to 18-inch squares – that are being used for the first time this season. Baltimore hadn’t stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo swiped two bags apiece, and Adam Frazier got a huge jump on his steal against reliever Ryan Brasier. There was nothing Boston catcher Reese McGuire could do to stop them and on the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t bother to throw.


Right-hander Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned Boston’s final two roster spots to open the season. Tapia got the nod over Jarren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless sixth with one strikeout Thursday.


Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make is sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has pitched in only 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to begin his seventh season in Boston.