MLB Owners Trying To Raise Tax To Stop Mets Owner Steve Cohen

The Mets were long seen as an underachieving franchise that couldn't take advantage of its location in New York City.

The arrival of Steve Cohen, who purchased the team in 2020, rapidly changed that reputation.

Instead of being bullied by the neighboring New York Yankees, the Mets have become the league's highest spending frenchise.

MLB owners have steadfastly avoided the 90% top luxury tax penalty. Other than Cohen.

That top bracket has even been nicknamed the "Steve Cohen tax." He's become one of the few owners willing to make slightly less profit in order to put the best team on the field.

But the penalties for exceeding the luxury tax in three consecutive seasons is going even higher. By 2024, it'll rise to 110%.

That said, the New York Post's Jon Heyman recently reported that Cohen and the Mets are still seen as the favorites to land Shohei Ohtani in free agency.

How Far Will Mets Go?

Ohtani raises a fascinating question for the Mets and Steve Cohen.

How high is he willing to go?

Ohtani is obviously an incredibly unique player, someone who adds tremendous value offensively and on the mound. That said, with the tax increase, the cost to repeat spenders like the Mets could be tremendously high.

If he does command the $50 million yearly salary some believe he will, Ohtani would cost the mets $110 million. And if Cohen continues to run extremely high payrolls down the road, a $500 million salary could cost over $1 billion.

But that's not all.

MLB owners are pushing for the tax to go even higher, partially out of a desire to stop Cohen's spending.

According to Heyman, frustration throughout the league is growing enough that many want to "curtail" Mets' payrolls.

"Word is going around that some owners were upset enough by the increasingly obvious wherewithal gap between Cohen and the have-nots that new measures may be tried to curtail him," Heyman wrote.

For Mets fans, this is a great problem to have.

Most fanbases are stuck seeing big name free agents sign elsewhere. Even the wealthy, usually free spending Dodgers have seen Manny Machado, Corey Seager and Trea Turner leave LA in just the past few years.

But the Mets are committed to running payrolls commensurate with their market and income.

Other owners are quickly realizing this makes them look bad with their fans. And so, efforts to stop Cohen and force him down to their level continue.

Whether or not he'd actually commit to signing Ohtani is uncertain, given the penalties. But the fact that other owners are already worried about it shows that the Mets are now the biggest bully in the room.

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Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog.