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Steve Cohen’s splurge will have ‘consequences’ down the road, some in MLB say

Steve Cohen’s spending spree has been a delight for Mets fans, but some have only grown angry with the near billion dollars the Mets owner has handed out.

The Mets owner has blown past the highest threshold tax the MLB implements for payroll, nicknamed the “Steve Cohen tax” this winter, with some MLB officials up in arms over whether or not the Mets payroll is “fair” or “good for baseball.”

“I think it’s going to have consequences for him down the road,” a club official told The Athletic. “There’s no collusion. But … there was a reason nobody for years ever went past $300 million. You still have partners, and there’s a system.”

In 2022, the Mets were taxed 80 percent on the $10 million over the $290 million threshold they went. This coming season, they’ll face a 90 percent fee on every dollar over $293 million — and they’ve blown past it by nearly $80 million so far.

“Our sport feels broken now,” another rival executive told The Athletic. “We’ve got somebody with three times the median payroll and has no care whatsoever for the long-term of any of these contracts, in terms of the risk associated with any of them. How exactly does this work? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.”

10/9/22 - MLB Playoffs Wild Card Game 3 - San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets at Citi Field - Mets owner Steve Cohen reacts in the owners suite during the first inning.
Front office folks from around MLB don’t seen to be reveling in Steve Cohen’s free agency spending as much as Mets fans are.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is among those who don’t seem to have an issue with Cohen’s offseason splurge, though other MLB execs hinted that, while they won’t be “colluding” against the Mets owner, they won’t exactly be looking to help him, either.

“This game is based on partnership and relationships, and these small markets are going to be really pissed at him,” the first club official said. “They’re going to try and gin up sh-t and cause Rob (Manfred) to f–king get pissed at him. It’s not that they can do anything to him, but everybody needs help in this game. I don’t think he’s going to get any help.”

Most MLB teams could match Cohen’s input into their teams — 24 of the 30 MLB owners are billionaires and 13 of them are worth $3.5 billion or more. On top of that, every MLB team will be making at least $100 million in TV money at the start of the 2023 MLB season, a value that around half the league doesn’t invest in its teams each year.

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