George Steinbrenner infamously attempted to purchase championships with the Yankees in the 1980s. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has learned how difficult that truly is.
First, Max Scherzer was sent packing, headed to the Texas Rangers for Luisangel Acuna. Now, just after winning his 250th career game, Justin Verlander has been traded to the Houston Astros. Jeff Passan from ESPN reported that the Mets received prospects Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in return.
New York Mets trying to wipe slate clean
The cynical side would say that this is just a way to clean the slate for changes in the front office. Bob Nightengale from USA Today noted that the Mets are expected to hire David Stearns as their president of baseball operations this winter. Cohen had wanted Stearns as part of the organization since purchasing the Mets and may finally get his wish. Those free spending ways could continue, just with a new voice in charge.
But this is also a chance for growth. Cohen had entered the baseball universe with a bang, signing marquee free agents and opening his checkbook for absurd deals. The Mets had the largest payroll in major league history by a large margin. If anyone was going to be able to purchase a championship, it was the Mets.
That financial advantage has meant nothing. The Mets entered Tuesday with a 50-55 record, six games out of a Wild Card spot. The writing was on the wall. Instead of doubling down as the Padres have done, the Mets have decided to face reality. It is a tough lesson, but it is one that needed to be learned all the same.
The New York Mets have learned a hard lesson. It is not nearly as easy to purchase a championship as they had thought.