New York Mets owner Steve Cohen attends the opening of...

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen attends the opening of Citi Field as a mass vaccination site for COVID-19  on Feb. 10, 2021. Credit: Corey Sipkin

For all those who wondered what would happen if a mega-billionaire Mets fan bought the franchise, now you know.

It’s as if the guy from Shea Stadium’s upper deck wearing the Koosman jersey hit Powerball and moved into the owner’s suite at Citi Field. Two-plus years into Steve Cohen’s Flushing reign, the hedge-fund titan has brought that fantasy to life — perhaps even exceeding the withering dreams left for dead during the latter seasons of the Wilpon Era.

Because this isn’t about merely wanting the Mets to win, as Fred and Jeff Wilpon certainly did. What Cohen is doing — and his fellow owners surely feared — is trying to build a World Series champion with almost zero regard for any financial concerns or payroll-braking mechanisms.

In his first spring, Cohen handed over a record $341 million extension to Francisco Lindor six months short of his free agency, without another bidder in the derby. The following winter, he invested another $265 million — coincidentally after being left at the contract altar by Steven Matz — despite the turbulence of MLB’s labor war.

Which brings us to this current offseason, and specifically the past four days. Cohen made his previous spending habits look like rummaging through his pockets to buy a bagel and coffee. He not only made Edwin Diaz the highest-paid relief pitcher in history with a $102 million contract just a matter of hours after the World Series ended but scooped up four more free agents — Justin Verlander, Brandon Nimmo, Jose Quintana and David Robertson — before some made it home from MLB’s winter meetings in San Diego.

All told, that’s roughly $386 million, long before most of us have even started our holiday shopping. And that’s before tacking on the penalties involved.

Remember all the talk of the Steve Cohen Tax, that fourth payroll threshold designed to be an electric collar for the “drunken sailor” crowd? Well, guess who’s outside the fence. By a lot.

According to FanGraphs’ 2023 payroll estimations, the Mets are at $335 million (factoring in arbitration projections) for Competitive Balance Tax purposes, a dizzying sum that already has skyrocketed past that top fourth tier of $293 million. As a result, Cohen would be on the hook for $67.2 million in taxes alone — more than the entire payrolls of the A’s, Orioles and Pirates. Also, the Mets are coming off a 2022 season with a tax bill of nearly $30 million.

Keep in mind, it’s only early December and plenty of free agents remain available, so Cohen likely isn’t finished. The Mets have their eye on Japanese ace Kodai Senga, whose value ticks higher by the day in this inflated pitching market. Logically, you’d assume that the Mets don’t need to chase Carlos Rodon for the rotation, but can you ever rule anything out for these Cohen Mets?

General manager Billy Eppler plays coy when it comes to budget questions, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Cohen never seems to have one. And when you’re worth an estimated $17 billion, you don’t fret much over price tags.

Shortly after adding Verlander for two years and $86 million, Eppler was asked what impact that might have on Cohen’s spending going forward.

“I think the biggest takeaway here is that Steve’s committed to winning,” Eppler said this week in San Diego. “He talked about that in his introductory press conference. He talked about that again last year shortly after I got hired. That commitment remains very evident to this day.”

Twenty-four hours later, the Mets signed Nimmo to an eight-year, $162 million contract — blowing away the most lucrative predictions for the centerfielder — and added Robertson for one year at $10 million. The timing didn’t seem like an accident, either.

It just so happened the Mets closed the deal for fan favorite Nimmo on the same day Jacob deGrom was unveiled wearing a Rangers cap and jersey at Globe Life Field. Rewinding a bit further, Cohen threw bags of cash at Verlander only 72 hours after deGrom officially spurned the Mets, going to Texas on a five-year, $185 million contract that not even the sport’s richest owner was willing to touch.

Maybe there will come a day when Cohen does dial it back some. The problem with the Mets now is that they’re still in the process of rebuilding the farm system, with only Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty close to contributing at the major-league level. That’s also handcuffed them on the trade market, as Eppler has been reluctant to deal the very few blue-chippers the organization does have, shutting down a more cost-efficient route toward upgrading Buck Showalter’s roster.

Fortunately, the Mets have Cohen to bridge that gap. And in this hyperventilating free-agent market, there is no greater asset.

Is the soon-to-be-40 Verlander a risky bet at $43 million for this season? No doubt. Eight years for Nimmo? Never saw that one coming.

These are costly gambles. No amount of money can buy guaranteed success.

But after years of everybody pleading for the Mets to behave like a big-market team, Cohen is answering those prayers.

Will all this spending get them back to a World Series?

Who knows? But it sure beats the alternative.

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