New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has expressed his unwavering support for manager Buck Showalter and general manager Billy Eppler despite the team’s disappointing start to the season.
In a recent interview with the New York Post, Cohen acknowledged his frustration with the Mets struggles, citing the inconsistent pitching staff as the team’s biggest issue. However, he emphasized that he will not resort to knee-jerk reactions by firing the key personnel.
Cohen asserted that he would remain patient during challenging times, stating, “When things get really bad, I’m not going to blow up. I don’t think that’s the proper response. I don’t think it solves anything, other than it gives people a one-day story.. But it doesn’t really solve anything.”
“I think that’s the worst thing you can do is to be overly reactionary,” he said. “General fan reaction – it’s usually, ‘I can’t believe Steve’s not going nuts, fire somebody.’ My answer to that is, ‘OK, let’s say I went nuts. Let’s say I fired somebody. Then what?’ What does that accomplish? Who are you gonna replace them with? This is the middle of the season.”
“And then if you actually ask people [who are the replacements], they have no answers, other than they’re just angry, and I get that.
He acknowledged that there is plenty of blame to go around for the team’s performance but believes that blowing up the organization would not solve their problems and could be demotivating.
“I’m frustrated. The players are frustrated. The front office is frustrated. We are frustrated. No one expected this. This is really surprising. It doesn’t mean that things won’t get better. If we can find ways to fix our weaknesses, we’ll try,” he said.
The Mets currently hold a fourth-place position in the National League East with a record of 31-35, trailing the division-leading Atlanta Braves by 9½ games.
Despite having a record payroll of over $340 million, the team is unlikely to match its impressive 2022 record of 101-61 achieved in Showalter and Eppler’s first season.
Eppler echoed Cohen’s sentiments, expressing confidence in Showalter’s abilities as a four-time Manager of the Year with over two decades of experience. Cohen added that the team’s problems are “organizational” and emphasized his desire to avoid reactionary measures.
He highlighted the lack of viable replacements mid-season and emphasized the need to fix weaknesses rather than simply making changes for the sake of appeasing frustrated fans.
The Mets pitching staff, with a 4.73 ERA, has been a major concern this season, ranking among the bottom five in the league.. Cohen specifically mentioned the struggles of veteran aces Justin Verlander (4.85 ERA) and Max Scherzer (3.71), who have faced injuries and inconsistency.
Despite their difficulties, Cohen expressed confidence in their ability to rebound.
“I believe we have veteran pitchers who have performed in the past,” he said. “I think they’re gonna do better. I think we’re seeing signs of it. Verlander went out the other night [Thursday against the Braves] and pitched three innings. The start before he threw 120 pitches. Is one related to the other? Might be, I don’t know, it’s way above my paygrade.”
“Generally he’s the type of pitcher and Max is the type of pitcher – I think they are going to be fine.. What is the odds this group of pitchers will pitch this way the entire season? Probably unlikely. That is why there is reason for optimism in a moment where it looks like the wheels have just come off.”
Cohen, who purchased the Mets for a record $2.4 billion in November 2020, has transformed the team into one of the highest-spending franchises in Major League Baseball.
While he appreciates the passion of Mets fans, he reiterated his commitment to his own management style and rejected the notion of making hasty changes to satisfy “recency bias.”
“That’s not how I’m going to run this team,” he said. “That’s not how I’m dealing with my people. And if people don’t like it, what can I tell you? I’m gonna do it the way I do it. I don’t know who they thought they were getting.”
“Just because I spent money doesn’t mean a change.. I’m gonna run it in my style – thoughtful, involved. And sometimes there are no easy answers. And you have to accept that.”
Cohen emphasized the need for thoughtful and involved decision-making, acknowledging that there are no easy answers but expressing optimism for improvement if the team can address its weaknesses.
As the season progresses, Mets fans will continue to watch closely to see if Cohen’s patience and faith in Showalter, Eppler, and the team’s veterans will pay off and lead to a turnaround.
Cohen may not want to admit it publicly – but you can only be patient for so long.