New Mets Owner Has More Money Than Anyone Else in Baseball, But Will That Translate to Wins?

By Stephen Douglas
Mr. Met is going to need a raise.
Mr. Met is going to need a raise. / Rich Schultz/Getty Images
facebooktwitter

Steve Cohen is (almost?) the new owner of the New York Mets. When that becomes official, Cohen will become the richest owner in Major League Baseball. As this chart illustrates, he will be the richest by a very wide margin.

At quick glance, that seems like a big deal. As noted in that tweet, MLB has no salary cap. The Mets can spend as much as they want and Cohen can easily afford it. The sky is seemingly the limit for the Metropolitan Baseball Club in Queens. Or, as this paper will discuss... is it though?

Based on what we know about billionaires like Cohen, wouldn't he be more likely to look at the success of the Tampa Bay Rays and think the Mets can do this without spending? The Rays, who lost Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, spent just over $28 million on payroll this season, the third- lowest amount in MLB.

In the NL East, the Mets finished behind the Miami Marlins despite spending more than twice as much. Miami had the fourth-lowest payroll in baseball and made the NLDS. The Boston Red Sox, who spent the third most this season, finished with the fourth-worst record.

And how much did owner wealth have to do with spending this season? The three owners right below Cohen in net worth did not have the highest payrolls this season. Washington was 11th. The Giants were 8th. The Tigers were 22nd.

John Fisher, the owner of the Oakland A's, was the seventh-wealthiest owner this season and his team had the 25th-highest payroll, but the A's made the playoffs so... maybe there's only a correlation between spending and winning when the teams that spend the most win.

Like the Dodgers who have an owner in Mark Walter who just missed being on that list, the second-highest payroll this year, and have a 1-0 lead in the World Series. The truth is every MLB owner has enough money to spend as much as they want on their baseball team, but they rarely do. Everyone can afford Mookie Betts (except John Henry, obviously), but only the Dodgers paid him. And they did it without the richest guy in the sport.

It's not the amount of money you have, it's when and how you spend it. Cohen has the most money, now when and how is he going to spend it?

facebooktwitter