The team commissioned an industry-wide study in late 2020 and quickly realized Alderson's suspicions were correct. The Mets decline to speak specifically about figures, but one person familiar with the outcome says that by the following spring, "the overwhelming majority" of employees had received a salary bump. Another person says, "I would say more than 50% of our player development staff significantly—significantly—got an increase that got them on the scale where they should be for their job title." A third person says he knows of someone whose pay jumped 100%. Alderson refuses to take credit for the increases but says several people told him the raise had been 'life-changing."
Perhaps obviously, it also improved morale. "Lots of people are willing to do whatever it takes, including work for nothing or for a small amount to get their foot in the door," Alderson says. "But eventually it wears off. Eventually it becomes a job. A job with a certain amount of cachet, but you can’t eat cachet and you can't support a family on cachet. So at some point you owe it to your employees. If you're going to demand excellence, then you have to be prepared to acknowledge it."
Paying good wages matters. Even if you have solid people at the top running the club, you're not going to succeed without the right people in place to do the work. Cohen has also beefed up hiring in certain areas, with the analytics department in particular benefitting. Scouting and player development are other areas of focus. What this article documents is significant far beyond the success the Mets are enjoying on the field in 2022. There truly is an infrastructure being built that should help the club achieve Cohen's stated goal of fielding a competitive team year in and year out.
I suspect what irked Steve Cohen about the piece was all the rehashing of his history in ruthlessly building the fortune that allows him to be "Uncle Steve" to some Mets fans. I've never positioned myself as a defender of the billionaire class and have no desire to start now. Once the Mets went up for sale, it was inevitable that the new owner would either be a very wealthy person, a group that included very wealthy people, or a corporation. There are no choirboys and girls in that group. My hopes for the owner were essentially answered by Cohen's purchase because I only cared about having someone in that position that would demand more from the club and give his front office what they needed to answer that demand.
Steve Cohen isn't a perfect person, and he's not my uncle. But he's a hell of a good owner. Cohen stands in such stark contrast to the Fred and Jeff puppet show that preceded him, and that's what really matters to fans like myself. I'm glad that Steve Cohen was in that locker room last night celebrating what his club accomplished. He's given the Mets exactly what was needed, and he deserved to bask in the glory of it all.
And thanks to Sandy Alderson, too. Sandy had a tough job as GM under the Wilpons. Still, he made some missteps in those years. Sandy deserves quite a lot of the blame for hiring Mickey Callaway when even a moderately rigorous vetting process would have stopped any sane man from making that hire. Then, upon his return as team President, Alderson compounded that error by sanctioning a pursuit of Trevor Bauer, who already had about a zillion red flags about his attitude towards women. For all of his obvious intelligence, Sandy seems quite tone-deaf to how things have changed over the last few decades in what's acceptable in the treatment of women in baseball.
But I still feel thankful that Alderson came back and made Steve Cohen's bid to buy the Mets more palatable to the bunch of stiffs who run MLB. And I appreciate the professionalism that Alderson sought to instill in the organization upon his return, as documented in the article cited above and in other sources. Although it did feature quite a bit of the tired, oft-repeated same-old dirt on the Mets and Cohen, I couldn't help but feel even better about the Mets beyond this season after reading Ms. Apstein's article.
Being a long-time Mets fan makes it hard to believe that going to the playoffs is anything more than a once- or twice-a-decade unicorn season. But the Mets remaining as a contender year in and year out seems real to me at this point. If playing meaningful games just about every September becomes something that we Mets fans come to take for granted, that's fine by me. We've definitely earned that.
Be well and take care. Let's go Mets!
Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.