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 /
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Eric Hosmer.  Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hosmer.  Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

2018

The Padres waved $144 million for eight years in front of Eric Hosmer, and he took it. In San Diego, Hosmer’s average has fallen 20 points, his power has basically been halved, and he is reportedly available if anybody’s interested in picking up the remaining four years and $60 million.

The Cubs paid Yu Darvish $126 million to sign with them for six years. He returned a 15-14 record, a 3.60 ERA, and one postseason outing, a defeat in the 2020 Wild Card.

Prior to 2021, the Cubs sent Darvish and catcher Vic Caratini to San Diego.

One of the rare big-dollar free agent hits of recent years was Boston’s signing of outfielder J.D. Martinez for five years at $110 million. Martinez was a big factor in Boston’s run to the 2018 World Series championship.

The Phillies’ courting of Jake Arrieta that winter was far less rewarding. They gave Arrieta $75 million over three seasons. In exchange they got a 22-23 record, a 4.36 ERA, and no postseason activity by either the pitcher or the team whatsoever.

The Milwaukee Brewers offered Lorenzo Cain $80 million to play center field for five seasons. Cain has hit a credible .282, but he’s a .242 postseason batter with two RBI in four Brewers post-season series, three of those defeats.