With Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets, baseball’s richest owner now resides in Queens, putting pressure on the Yankees to maintain their role as big brother in the city.
Ever since the New York Mets arrived in 1962, the New York Yankees have established themselves as the “big brother” in New York City.
Since the Mets arrival, the Yankees have been to the World Series 14 times, winning eight championships. Meanwhile, the Mets have reached the World Series just five times in their franchise history, winning in 1969 and 1986 and losing three, including in 2000 to the Yankees in five games.
Head-to-head, including the Yankees 2000 World Series victory over the Mets, the Bombers lead the all-time series with the Mets that began in 1997 74-54.
Since the start of free agency in the 1970s, the Yankees have not hesitated to bring in star power from Reggie Jackson to Alex Rodriguez (trade/contract extension), CC Sabathia and Gerrit Cole. Meanwhile, the Mets have mostly stayed quiet, signing the more affordable options.
All of these facts have earned the Yankees big brother status, but now, they’re in danger of losing that title and becoming the little brother.
Tuesday, the New York Mets introduced new owner Steve Cohen, who is now the wealthiest owner in baseball with an estimated net worth of $14.6 billion.
“I’m essentially doing it for the fans,” Cohen said in his press conference Tuesday. “When I really thought about this, I could make millions of people happy, and what an incredible opportunity that is.”
He later added, “You build champions, you don’t buy them. This is a major-market team. It should have a budget commensurate with that.”
While the Mets appear ready to spend and work towards Cohen’s goal of winning a World Series within the next three to five years, the Yankees all the sudden have appeared hesitant to spend.
The team did sign Gerrit Cole to a nine-year $324 million deal last offseason, but it was the first free-agent contract north of $100 million the Yankees handed out since 2014 when they signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year $153 million deal, which turned out to be a nightmare.
Not only have the Yankees been less willing to hand out big contracts in the last seven years, but since long-time owner George Steinbrenner’s death in 2010 and Hal Steinbrenner taking over, Ellsbury and Cole are the only two players the team has signed to free-agent deals worth more than $100 million.
In addition, the Yankees have also lacked aggression on the trade market as the past two summers; they’ve watched big-name players land in places such as Houston, which would eventually cost the Yankees come October.
The Mets new ownership figures to be responsible and yet very aggressive which could lead to them being a leading contender for every big-name free agent or trade candidate.
For example, the Mets enter the offseason seen as the front-runners for 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and appear as the most likely trade destination for four-time All-Star Francisco Lindor.
The Yankees are seen as a potential landing spot for both Bauer and Lindor, but reports state they will only look to add those players at the “right price.”
If the Mets are willing to spend and build from the ground up while the Yankees hunt in the bargain aisle and prospect hug, the Bombers are clearly in jeopardy of becoming the Mets’ little brother after years of bullying the club in Queens.