Steve Cohen’s riches bring ‘immense possibility’ for Mets

Even if Brett Baty is the real deal, it is too early to say with any certainty that the Mets will hold off Atlanta to win the National League East. The Braves did make a late regular-season charge before winning the World Series last fall, and they do develop and deploy young stars like only a few franchises in sports.

But it is not too early to say that, even if the Luis Guillorme, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker injuries help plunge the Mets into a wild-card spot, they are set up to be a consistent postseason contender for the first time in forever. Over their 60-year existence, the Mets have made only two back-to-back trips to the playoffs and have never gone three years in a row. That could all change because Steve Cohen, baseball’s richest owner, has the money and the passion to consider going to an unimagined payroll place.

Like the $345 million-and-counting place The Post’s Mike Puma wrote about last week, if Cohen is inclined to re-sign free agents the likes of Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz and run it back in 2023.

“Working in a big market and working for somebody like Steve is exciting because of the possibilities that are created, but I also say you’ve still got to make choices,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said by phone. “And so a choice may be to go to a payroll of that level. I think that’s something that will be addressed. I think it will have something to do with what we think is our window of opportunity. It will have something to do with our desire to continue to develop minor league players and not give them up.

“I think the fact that someone would write that and not everyone responds with skepticism underscores the fact that Steve has brought immense possibility to the franchise.”

Possibilities that were never considered under the ownership of Fred and Jeff Wilpon in a post-Madoff world. Alderson worked with those strict constraints, and still found a way to build a World Series team in 2015. In a half-hour conversation with The Post, he never mentioned the Wilpons, and he didn’t need to. Alderson sounded like a liberated man when talking about Cohen’s resources and passion and about the inter-departmental harmony in the organization that has impacted the team’s record. He said the players have confidence in the enhanced support system around them and carry that onto the field.

None of that could be said under the previous administration the vast majority of the time.

Cohen has said he wants to emulate the Dodgers’ long-term success and that he’d be disappointed if his Mets didn’t win their first championship since 1986 in his first three to five years. Now they have a shot to pull it off in Year 2.

Mets owner Steve Cohen
Mets owner Steve Cohen
Corey Sipkin

“Could we? Is it a possibility?” Alderson said. “We have to make the playoffs first, but I think any team now that sees itself as a playoff team … has to believe they can go all the way.”

What a difference from last year and the early hours of the Cohen Era, when the owner and Alderson hired two general managers who were ultimately fired for off-field transgressions, and when the Mets couldn’t find anyone of note to take their chief baseball operations job.

But GM Billy Eppler has been on a personnel roll, giving Buck Showalter enough talent to take first place and inspiring fresh questions about whether Milwaukee’s David Stearns or another top executive needs to be hired above him. Asked if Eppler’s performance had eliminated that front-office need, Alderson called it “an issue for another day” and said the Mets’ front-office structure would be evaluated at season’s end. “Has Billy done the kind of job that would give me and presumably Steve every confidence in the world going into 2023?” Alderson said. “I think the answer is yes.”

Steve Cohen (l.) and Mets president Sandy Alderson (r.)
Steve Cohen (l.) and Mets president Sandy Alderson (r.)
Corey Sipkin

Of course he gushed about the job Showalter is doing (who wouldn’t?) and, like every Mets fan, expressed hope that deGrom and Max Scherzer will stay healthy from here to November. In his four decades in the game, the 74-year-old Alderson said he has never seen a better tandem at the top of a rotation “either on paper or on the field. … I think not only are they a great 1-2 punch, and maybe the best ever 1-2, they both bring far more to the team than just their performance. Certainly that’s the case with Scherzer, and just the mystique of deGrom and his potential for the rest of the season does the same type of thing. It just lifts everyone else.”

And the Mets have always needed lifting like nobody else. From the day he was brought back to the organization by Cohen, Alderson has maintained that the perception of the franchise couldn’t change until the reality of the franchise changed. When things go sideways for the Mets, he wants people to see it as an exception rather than the rule.

“At least for the moment, perception has changed,” Alderson said, “but that changed perception is predicated on what’s actually happened. There’s not a lot of talk. There’s been a lot of delivery.”

Jacob deGrom (l.) and Max Scherzer
Jacob deGrom (l.) and Max Scherzer

That goes for the ownership suite, too. As a rookie, Cohen was all over the place on Twitter, firing away over this and that, and perhaps scaring away job candidates who preferred their bosses to have a lower social media profile.

Cohen has tweaked his Twitter tone this year. Though he’s not a regular social media follower, Alderson did say of his boss: “I think given what’s happened over the first four-and-a-half months of the season, his demeanor is a little bit different, but still demanding.”

These days, their weekly conversations often revolve around in-game entertainment, the overall fan experience and Citi Field parking issues.

You can talk about those things when the owner’s net worth makes future contention seem all but guaranteed.

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