New York Mets owner Steve Cohen says he's 'all-in,' expects team to make playoffs this season

ByJoon Lee ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

NEW YORK -- If there was any doubt that the tenure of Steve Cohen would mark a new era of New York Mets baseball, the team's new owner hopes the 10-year, $341 million contract given to shortstop Francisco Lindor erases any skepticism.

"I told you I'm all-in," Cohen told reporters Monday, "and this should leave no doubt."

Under the ownership of Cohen, the Mets became one of the most aggressive teams in baseball during free agency this past offseason, pursuing big-name free agents such asGeorge Springer and Trevor Bauer as Cohen tried to make his mark as the team's new owner.

In addition to acquiring Lindor, the Mets also traded for pitcher Carlos Carrascoand signed catcher James McCann, infielder Jonathan Villar, outfielder Kevin Pillar and reliever Trevor May.

"We made different attempts that we're serious about this," Cohen said. "Like I said, when people want to sign a contract, two people sign a contract, not one. It was great to get Francisco. We like him a lot, and I thought it was a very successful offseason too. We built up our depth, and we're thrilled where we are and are looking forward to the season."

Lindor's massive deal was announced on the eve of Opening Day. Per ESPN's Buster Olney, between Lindor's 2021 salary and his $21 million signing bonus -- which he'll receive this month -- his $43.3 million compensation will be the most ever for a major league player in a calendar year.

Cohen said that, during the course of negotiations, he and Lindor became "good friends" as they shared several dinners.

"We text all the time," Cohen said.

Team president Sandy Alderson also addressed the contract status of Michael Conforto, who is eligible to become a free agent after the 2021 season. While Lindor set an Opening Day deadline for the negotiation of his contract, Conforto indicated previously that he's willing to talk to the team during the course of the season.

Alderson said that the team is willing to talk to the outfielder about a new deal.

"I would say that our negotiations were brief but cordial, and I do believe there is room for continuing those conversations and I'm hopeful that the dialogue will continue," Alderson said. "We'll see where we end up."

While Cohen would not predict a World Series title, he did say he expects the Mets to make the playoffs this season.

"What I do think is that we are going to be real competitive, and I do believe we are going to make the playoffs," Cohen said. "Once we get to the playoffs, anything can happen, right? I'm pretty optimistic. The team looks good to me, and I think fans are going to really enjoy this team."

Alderson mentioned that the Mets will be encouraging all of their players to get the COVID-19 vaccine by providing education about its public health benefits.

"We want to encourage not only our players but everyone to be vaccinated," Alderson said. "I've been vaccinated, and I would encourage anyone in my family who hasn't been, who's not yet eligible, to be vaccinated, so we're going to encourage our players to be vaccinated, but we're also going to provide education so we have something in Philadelphia [where the Mets are slated to open their season Monday] for all of our players provided by our medical staff and an independent medical staff to inform our players about the impact on our own health and the health of our families and specific questions they may have."