Reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge put pen to paper on his $360 million deal on Wednesday and was named the 16th team captain in Yankees franchise history. On the same day, Mets owner Steve Cohen opened up his checkbook, again, and snatched Carlos Correa away from the San Francisco Giants with an 12-year, $315 million deal.
Most Recent $300M Deals In MLB
New York is the epicenter of hot stove baseball, and the Yankees and Mets are making it clear they’ll do whatever it takes to try to win a World Series.
For years the Yankees were the dominant team in New York both in terms of winning and spending the money necessary to field a winner. After years of penny-pinching by the Wilpons, billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen ($17.5 billion) upon gaining majority ownership of the Mets made it clear he would spend the money needed to bring a World Series title to Queens for the first time since 1986.
Cohen is so brazen with his spending that as part of the new labor deal, reached earlier this year, a special new tier was added to the luxury-tax system that was designed specifically to try to stymie his spending habits. This new tier ($60 million over the base threshold, with an 80 percent tax for each dollar over in the first year, 90 percent in a second consecutive year, and 105 percent in each consecutive year beyond that) appears to have had no effect on Cohen.
Some owners biggest concern about Steve Cohen ownership would be exactly what they are waking up to today. He plays a different game because he can and way more important-he will.
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) December 21, 2022
How Much Money Has Mets Owner Steve Cohen Spent On Players?
So far Cohen and the Mets have committed to $806,166,666 in total contracts to nine players this offseason. When accounting for other contract commitments already on the books, the 2023 Mets have a projected player payroll of $377 million, a whopping $144 million over the base luxury-tax threshold for next season of $233 million.
And Cohen may not be done.
“We needed one more thing, and this is it,” Cohen said to The New York Post this week. “This was important. … This puts us over the top. This is a good team. I hope it’s a good team!”
Yankees Were Never Letting Aaron Judge Walk
As for the Yankees, there was no way they were going to let Judge walk. They were swept by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the ALCS, and there is a feeling of unfinished business.
“It came to a decision we knew in our heart we belong in New York, we belong in this city,” Judge said of the decision he and his wife, Samantha, made this month. “There’s a lot of unfinished business here in New York. I’m looking forward to finishing that business.”
As far as baseball goes, New York will always be a Yankees town. But when the Mets are good, relevant and interesting there is a special kind of buzz and magic in the air.
Too early to tell if both teams will be good when it matters the most, but that’s the direction they appear to be headed.
In a sport with no salary cap, $300+ million contracts are evolution and capitalism all rolled into one. Add in an owner like Steve Cohen, and historically the Steinbrenner family, who are willing to spend money to win, and this is what you get.
In baseball, like all other sports, there are no guarantees. The season is long (162 games), random, and weird things happen.
But the money both teams shelled out this offseason isn’t about the 162 games. It’s about the 12 you need to win in October.