Owner Steve Cohen has no regrets about the Mets’ trade-deadline roster purge, even if it is now helping teams that were on the other end of such deals.
Take pitcher Justin Verlander, whom the Mets traded to the Astros in August for two outfield prospects.
Verlander went 7-3 with a 3.31 ERA in the regular season for Houston, then began the ALDS by allowing no runs in a 6-4 victory over the Twins on Saturday.
“Look what Justin Verlander has done for Houston; he’s pitched great,” Cohen said on Wednesday at Sportico’s “Invest in Sports” conference in Manhattan.
“There’s an example where I was looking at the intermediate/long term and they were thinking short term. How could they get into the playoffs and advance in the playoffs?
“So I would argue I was arbitraging different time frames, and I bet if you called [Astros owner] Jim Crane today, he’s thrilled and I’m thrilled. That’s great.”
Another recently traded former Met, Max Scherzer, advanced to the ALCS as a member of the Rangers, but he has not yet pitched in the playoffs because of a shoulder injury.
Those deals went down under the general managership of Billy Eppler, who resigned last week after the hiring of David Stearns as head of baseball operations.
Asked after his appearance on stage whether he was surprised by Eppler leaving, Cohen declined to comment.
Cohen was the final speaker in an eight-hour slate of sports movers and shakers, some of whom have been involved in ownership of multiple franchises.
While Cohen did recently buy into a new golf league, TGL, that is backed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, he is not yet ready for a deeper dive into sports ownership. The Mets — and his day job running a hedge fund — are enough for now.
“I’ve got to get the Mets right,” he said. “Once I get the Mets right and get the model down, I can think about doing something else . . . I’ve got to get this right and I haven’t gotten it right yet.”
On the day he was fired, manager Buck Showalter expressed confidence that will change.
“Someone is going to walk into a great situation here," he said. "There’s better things ahead for the Mets."
One of Cohen’s aims is to develop a new gaming and entertainment area around Citi Field, which will require state approval.
When moderator Marc Ganis began a question by saying, “You’re doing a lot at Citi Field; there’s a lot going on,” Cohen cut him off.
“There’s nothing going on at Citi Field,” he said. “The only thing you can do at Citi Field is get your hubcap changed or maybe get back your catalytic converter . . . It’s 50 acres of cement. It’s a parking lot.”
He added, “The fans want something to do before the game and after the game, so there’s an opportunity to do something really incredible. I’ve seen some of the plans and they’re evolving. But I’m excited.”
Cohen said owning the Mets has been “transformational” for him and his family, “and it’s been fun.”
He said most people have no interest in his hedge fund and would rather talk about the Mets. He even finds dealing with sports journalists more enjoyable than their business counterparts.
“If you want brutal, deal with the financial press,” Cohen said. “I think these sportswriters are not bad at all. Actually, I think they softball a lot of things.”