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Steve Cohen, Carlos Correa, and the Mets’ Offseason Spending Spree

The numbers behind Steve Cohen’s free agent frenzy this offseason are staggering. Boardroom breaks it down.

When the New York Mets signed Max Scherzer to a record-breaking deal in 2021, the three-time Cy Young winner said about Mets owner Steve Cohen, “He’s going to do whatever it takes to win.”

He wasn’t messing around.

In a surprise turn of events, the Mets signed two-time All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa to a 12-year, $315 million deal early Wednesday morning. This came after Correa agreed to a 13-year, $350 million deal with the Giants, which abruptly fell through after his physical. Correa had even already gotten dressed for his introductory press conference in San Francisco when it all fell apart. As Tuesday went on, many assumed Correa would still end up with the Giants somehow, went to bed with no reason to think otherwise, then woke up to shocking news.

Cohen has changed the status quo of how owners spend, going all-out this offseason with the hopes of bringing the Mets their first World Series trophy since 1986.

“We needed one more thing. And this was it,” Cohen said about Correa.

But it’s so much more than this “one more thing” — it’s a spending spree like we’ve never seen before.

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Breaking the Bank

The hedge fund manager whose net worth is reportedly $17.5 billion has become a disruptor in ownership ranks. In fact, the MLB’s new luxury tax structure, forged in the latest labor deal, has been dubbed the “Cohen Tax.” Thanks partly to his spending, MLB added an extra tier to the luxury tax chart, penalizing those who spend more than $63 million above the threshold at a whopping 90%. The minimum threshold also went from $210 million to $233 million. Every dollar spent on payroll over that amount will now be taxed at the below rates:

  • $233M to $253M: 30%
  • $253M to $273M: 42%
  • $273M to $293M: 75%
  • $293M-beyond: 90%

Cohen doesn’t care.

The Mets were already above the maximum $293 million tax threshold after signing David Robertson to a one-year, $10 million deal. For context, the tax means it really cost Cohen an extra $9 million ($19 million total) to sign him. After the Correa signing, the Mets have spent $806,166,666 (4.6% of Cohen’s net worth) in total contracts to nine players this offseason, the most by any MLB team.

The 9 Players
Carlos Correa12$315M$26.3M
Brandon Nimmo8$162M$20.3M
Edwin Diaz5$102M$20.4M
Justin Verlander2$86.6M$43.3M
Kodai Senga5$75M$15M
Jose Quintana2$26M$13M
Omar Narvaez2$15M$7.5M
Adam Ottavino2$14.5M$7.3
David Robertson1$10M$10M
Cohen’s 2023 Bill
  • Current 2023 payroll: $384 million
  • Mets Luxury Tax Payroll: $111 million
  • Total Payroll (2023): $495 million
Added Context
  • The Mets’ luxury tax penalty in 2023 is higher than 10 teams’ entire payroll.
  • 50% of the luxury tax is owed to other teams — Cohen will pay 29 clubs $55 million next year.
  • The previous max payroll in baseball was less than $350 million.
  • New York spent more on Correa ($315M) than the Pirates have spent since 2010 ($207M).

Thanks to their unparalleled spending, the Mets are projected to lose more than $200 million in 2023 (that’s roughly 1.1% of Cohen’s net worth). If it isn’t obvious enough, Cohen just wants to win. The guy quite literally shook the MLB world while chillin’ in Hawaii.

But now, expectations soar to heights we’ve hardly seen in Mets history — the next two seasons are World Series or bust. Can they get it done?

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.