Steve Cohen and the New York Mets’ perilous pursuit of free agency

Aug 24, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; German tennis player Alexander Zverev (left) watches the game between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants with Mets owner Steve Cohen (right) during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; German tennis player Alexander Zverev (left) watches the game between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants with Mets owner Steve Cohen (right) during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
7 of 9
Next
Yoenis Cespedes. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Yoenis Cespedes. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

2017

The winter’s biggest free agent deal went to Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets giving him $110 million over four years. Already showing signs of the physical ailments that would soon render that deal absurd, Cespedes had only 127 games and 512 plate appearances left.

He batted .274 and made no postseason appearances for the duration of the deal.

Aroldis Chapman got the second-most money, $86 million, to rejoin the Yankees after helping the Cubs win the World Series. Chapman, who remains active, has saved 124 regular-season games for the Yanks. But his postseason record goes no farther than stints in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS. He was 0-2 with two saves in those series losses.

The Cardinals liked what Dexter Fowler did for the Cubs so much that they signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract to play center field. Fowler hit .233 for the Cardinals and, in the 2019 and 2020 postseasons, he batted .128. In the team’s 2019 NLCS loss to Washington, Fowler was hitless in 11 at-bats.

The Dodgers resigned their closer, Kenley Jansen, for five years and $80 million. In exchange, the Dodgers got 161 regular-season saves plus 11 postseason saves, two coming in his 11 World Series appearances.

But Jansen’s World Series work has been spotty. It also includes two losses and a 5.03 ERA.