New York Mets owner Steve Cohen offered his thoughts Wednesday about his team’s recent activity ahead of the trade deadline. After entering the season with the highest payroll in MLB history, New York currently has a 50-57 record and has traded six key players in the span of one week.

In an effort to rebuild and acquire young prospects, the Mets have become aggressive sellers at the deadline, sending away Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Robertson, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha and Dominic Leone. Far removed from the win-now attitude they assumed before the season, the Mets now more closely resemble extremely young upstarts.

The team has arguably thrown away the 2023 season in favor of a more secure future, though Cohen remained coy about the organization’s plans going forward.

“I think the expectations were really high this year and my guess is next year they’ll be a lot lower,” Cohen said. “I can’t speak to what’s going to happen in the offseason. I’m opportunistic. I don’t want to roll a team out that we’re going to be embarrassed about. But, we also know that spending a fortune doesn’t guarantee a trip to the playoffs. I think we’ve got to look and see what we need. Obviously we need starting pitching, and that’s the key thing.”


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As disappointing as the Mets have been this season, categorically failing to extract nearly enough from its prohibitively expensive starting rotation and underperforming bullpen, the prospects the team has acquired in the past week do offer some solace. Former Astros No. 1 prospect Drew Gilbert and former Rangers No. 3 prospect Luisangel Acuna stand out as especially promising future MLB players.

“We thought we got a great return for the people we ended up trading,” Cohen said. “We weren’t sure that was going to happen. We weren’t just going to do deals for the sake of doing deals. I would have kept the players if it turned out it was going to be a mediocre return. It’s a moment in time when other clubs were thinking very short term and I was thinking more intermediate, long term. And so, I was able to take advantage of that.”

Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. praised Luisangel, his younger brother, and his development in the Rangers’ farm system. He may one day face his brother as a division rival.

“My brother is more advanced and better than I was at his age. Maybe I was as talented, but not as advanced,” Acuna said through an interpreter.

In his first two seasons as the Mets’ owner, it’s clear that Cohen has learned the hard way that he cannot buy his way into the playoffs. The organization is taking a different path and did not hesitate to abruptly change course when it was not getting results.

“When you look at the probabilities, what we were at, 15% (to make the postseason)?” Cohen said. “And other teams were getting better, so you have to take the odds down from that. So, if you’re going to have a 12% chance of just getting into the playoffs, those are pretty crummy odds. I’ve said before – hope is not a strategy.”

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