Mets fans better hope Steve Cohen values free agents as much as he values art.
Cohen, a billionaire hedge fund manager and minority investor in the Mets, is in negotiations to acquire up to 80% of the club. That would give him control of the franchise’s operations and push aside the stingy Wilpon family who Mets fans have despised for years.
Cohen has way too much money, which makes him the perfect man to own a baseball team. He’s worth about $13.6 billion and lives in a massive nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom mansion in Greenwich, Conn., that also features a putting green and an ice rink—complete with a Zamboni.
Cohen’s biggest display of ostentatious wealth, though, is his massive art collection. The whole portfolio, which includes works by heavy hitters like Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, is worth about $1 billion. A sculpture made out of 10 pints of the artist Marc Quinn’s own blood sits in the lobby of Cohen’s offices.
A few of the big-ticket items in Cohen’s collection are valued at about the same price as an All-Star outfielder. He paid $155 million in 2013 to buy Picasso’s “Le Rêve” (“The Dream”) and in 2015 set a record by purchasing Alberto Giacometti’s 1947 bronze sculpture “L’Homme au Doigt” (“Man Pointing”) for $141.3 million, the most anyone has ever paid for a sculpture.
As The Athletic’s Tim Britton and Marc Carig point out, Cohen paid more for the Giacometti sculpture than the Mets have ever spent on a single player’s contract. David Wright holds the franchise record with his eight-year, $138 million deal signed in 2012. The five-year, $137.5 million contract Jacob deGrom signed in March is the second-richest in Mets history.
Cohen clearly has deep pockets, and he’s not afraid to open up his checkbook if he sees something he likes. Mets fans are hopeful that the team could finally stop behaving like a small-market club under his ownership. They should, unless the feds come after Cohen again.