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MLB’s Richest Owner Is Spending At Record Pace

  • The New York Mets will shatter the MLB record for highest payroll this year.
  • Counting competitive balance payments, the Mets will pay nearly $500 million.
Team owner Steve Cohen sitting with fans in the stands of a Mets game
Frank Becerra Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK
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With a phone call from Hawaii, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen took Major League Baseball into unprecedented territory.

The Mets swooped in to sign infielder Carlos Correa to a 12-year, $315 million contract after the San Francisco Giants raised medical concerns regarding their previously agreed to 13-year, $350 million deal with Correa.

  • The Mets payroll is projected to be $385 million, blowing past the previous record set by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022 of $306 million (or $271 million after removing the salary of the suspended Trevor Bauer).
  • Due to escalating penalties starting at $233 million in player payroll, the Mets will pay an estimated $113 million in additional payments to MLB’s competitive balance fund.

With a net worth of $17.5 billion, per Forbes, Cohen is Major League Baseball’s richest owner. The second and sixth richest, the Washington Nationals’ Ted Lerner and family ($6.4 billion) and the Los Angeles Angels Arte Moreno ($4.1 billion), are both selling their teams.

It’s Not Just Cohen, Either

MLB teams have committed over $3.4 billion to free agents this offseason, led by the Mets with $1.6 billion. 

The collective bargaining agreement lifted the threshold at which teams must pay into the competitive balance pool from $210 million in 2021 to $230 million for the most recent season.

The new CBA calculates payroll as an average over the life of the contract, incentivizing teams to favor long deals in certain cases. Shortstops Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts inked 11-year deals for $300 million and $280 million respectively.

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