Put those “Sell The Team” shirts in your memorabilia chests, pour yourself a cup of tea, and take a moment to revel in what has happened this Friday afternoon, Mets fans. Steve Cohen is the owner of the New York Mets.
Major League Baseball’s club owners voted to approve the transferral of the New York Mets to the hedgefund billionaire, a source told amNewYork Metro.
The 64-year-old Long Island native needed 22 of the remaining 29 club owner votes to get the final OK from MLB. It is unclear at this time how many votes Cohen received.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Steve will bring his lifelong passion for the Mets to the stewardship of his hometown team, and he will be joined by highly respected baseball leadership as well. I believe that Steve will work hard to deliver a team in which Mets fan can take pride.”
Just moments later, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that he will not block Cohen’s takeover, thus eliminating the final hurdle blocking the billionaire from the Mets.
“The New York City Law Department has completed its legal review of the proposed sale of the Mets,” de Blasio wrote. “New York City has no objections and the Mets can now proceed with the transaction.”
The mayor’s law department reviewed Cohen’s credentials to take over the land at Citi Field under the 2006 Stadium Lease Agreement between the New York City Industrial Development Agency and Queens Ballpark Company.
That agreement lists a clause that would allow the mayor to block the transferral of city land to a person who has been convicted of a felony. Cohen, however, has not been charged with a crime despite his former hedge fund, S.A.C. Capital, having to pay $1.8 billion in fines for wire and securities fraud.
Within MLB’s ownership ranks, it was a well-known fact that Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was opposed to Cohen taking over the Mets. He was the lone “no” vote in the initial eight-man MLB ownership committee vote last week and was expected to sway a few votes his way Friday.
Regardless, Cohen’s confirmation from all of the powers that be will make him the richest owner in Major League Baseball with a net worth of approximately $14.6 billion.
While initial expectations tabbed him to spend that fortune wildly to thrust the Mets into contention, multiple reports from amNewYork Metro and others have tabbed that will be far from the case.
Cohen has brought in former Mets GM and long-time executive Sandy Alderson as the team’s president of baseball operations. Among the first orders of business — which will include responsible spending via free agency and the trade market — is creating a well-rounded franchise by beefing up the analytics department and laying down roots for affluent international scouting.
Cohen also announced in a statement that “all Mets employees. All Mets employees, including unionized groundskeepers, security guards, and engineers, will receive reinstituted pre-pandemic salaries as of November 1, reversing the 5-30% salary cut implemented in March. The value of this commitment is over $7 million.”
“We plan to dramatically increase the giving of the Mets Foundation in the coming years, with priority given to non-profits and causes in communities surrounding Citi Field,” Cohen continued. “We will donate $17.5M to programs developed by the City to make grants to local area small businesses to assist them in these uniquely troubling times. This tax-deductible donation would be received and held by the NYC Economic Development Corporation.”