PHILADELPHIA — The Mets’ Steve Cohen era might start sooner than first thought.
MLB is expected to hold a vote on Cohen’s approval as the team’s new majority owner and control person well before the mid-November owners’ meetings, a source said Tuesday.
Further, multiple sources added, Cohen is expected to be approved when a vote does happen. That requires a thumbs-up from at least 23 of the other 29 team owners.
Cohen signed an agreement on Monday to buy the Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families in a deal that values the franchise at about $2.475 billion. That purchase is pending approval from the league, which comes in the form of the owners’ vote.
Before the vote, MLB is fully vetting Cohen, a process without a publicly known timeline. That includes an extensive background check and approval of the financial/structural details of the transaction by various ownership committees. Usually, once a team sale gets to the point of a formal vote, the vote itself is a mere formality.
MLB typically holds in-person owners’ meetings four times per year. The next meetings — scheduled for Nov. 17-19 in the Dallas area — are still on, for now, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The larger-gathering GM meetings that month already have been moved to an all-remote setup.
An in-person meeting is not required to approve the sale of a club, however. MLB can call for a special meeting in effect whenever it needs. This year, with all the pandemic-related changes and fluidity to the season, conference calls have happened frequently.
Although the Wilpons will remain in control of the Mets until the vote, Cohen is allowed to consult on decisions between now and then. October is a critical time of year, especially for non-playoff teams, as they formulate offseason plans and decide on 2021 budgets — including major-league payroll, yes, but also staffing and other expenses.
The earlier the vote, the earlier Cohen can get to actually making the changes he desires, be it in the front office, to the roster or involving non-baseball departments.
Cohen, a 64-year-old Great Neck native, is set to own 95% of the Mets if and when the sale is closed. The other 5% will remain with the Wilpons and Katzes. SNY is not included, with Sterling Equities retaining its controlling interest. Among the uncertainties is the ownership fate of the three minor-league teams owned and operated by the Mets: the Syracuse Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones and Port St. Lucie Mets.
Meanwhile, the Mets’ uniformed personnel are trying to focus less on the significant change that might be looming and more on their small chance of making the 16-team postseason. Ahead of the series opener against the Phillies on Tuesday, manager Luis Rojas said his players need to block it out.
"What I can say is that everyone here is aware of what’s going on and what took place yesterday," Rojas said. "But right now, our focus is on the field. Our focus is on today. As you run into this type of news, your focus has got to go back to what we need to do."
Jeff McNeil added: "Right now we’re just focused on this year and getting to the playoffs. That’s first and foremost. … Everyone is aware of what’s going on, but it’s something we’re not worried about, we’re not thinking about. We got business to do on the field, so we’re going to go out there and do it."