Steve Cohen: On Moving From Directing A Hedge Fund To A Baseball Club

Steve Cohen Has The Wilpons' Number (NY Post)

Steve Cohen, manager of a successful hedge fund, versus running a baseball club. Will he make the transition smoothly, or is it true old habits never die.

Steve Cohen, barring some unforeseen event, will win the battle to become the new owner of the New York Mets. What lies ahead, however, is winning the war.

Is it true that operating a successful business means those same skills can be adapted to a company in another sector seamlessly? The been there, done it, and I can do mentality again – if you will.

Steve Cohen Tried but failed to buy the Dodgers in 2011
Steve Cohen Tried but failed to buy the Dodgers in 2011

Steve Cohen, much like Derek Jeter over the years, has never been shy in voicing his desire to own a baseball club.

In 2011, Cohen was an active though unsuccessful bidder when the Los Angeles Dodgers came up for sale. He wisely elected to pass on the Mariners (2016) and Royals (2019) when they were sold.

But he was locked and loaded when Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz the Mets took on bids to sell the Mets in late 2019.

The prevailing thinking at the time is that attempt to sell was merely an exercise in tire-kicking by Fred Wilpon, in particular. Steve Cohen’s $2.6 billion offer was considered but eventually fell by the wayside at the last moment in February.

The Mets were ridden with debt back then, but it was nothing that could compare to what lay on the horizon. COVID turned the tables on everything and everyone. Team revenue shrank to zero when the 2020 season was postponed, and suddenly Steve Cohen was back in play.

Steve Cohen: A Lesson To Be Learned From Any Politician

Any politician will tell you (and on this you can believe them) that running a successful campaign has nothing to do with running a government (successfully).

Typically, the instinct of a newly installed leader is to draw from the array of friends, family members, and supporters who have followed your rise to power, even in the darkest of days.

Hal Steinbrenner & Brian Cashman - Blending Perfectly Photo Credit: The Captain's Blog
Hal Steinbrenner & Brian Cashman – Blending Perfectly Photo Credit: The Captain’s Blog

This is how, for instance, trusted friends and advisors of Donald Trump – Roger Stone, Paul Mannafort, and Michael Flynn failed in making the leap from real-estate, where bullying is not only tolerated but encouraged, to the inner workings of Washington, where the soft sell gets the job done.

For Steve Cohen, the lesson takes on parallel significance. Will he, for example, fire or keep Brodie Van Wagenen on as his General Manager?

Typically, the hiring of a GM has the single most influence on the day-to-day operation of the franchise, especially when it comes to baseball-related decisions.

Following the death of his father in 2010, Hal Steinbrenner was faced with a similar decision regarding George’s hand-picked GM, Brian Cashman. Hal made a choice to stick with Cashman, and since then, one of the most reliable and most successful teams has been cultivated over time.

Steve Cohen: Do Old Habits Ever Die

Let’s pause to take a peek into the way Steve Cohen conducts his business as a hedge fund manager.

According to Jeremy Lebenbaum, Binary Options Expert in his ABBOS Blog, Cohen is called a professional of short-term transactions, the king of hedge funds. As for the trading style of Steven Cohen, it can be easily described as the complete opposite of Warren Buffett’s style. Mr. Buffett, as we all know, prefers to invest in the years to come.

Cohen was always an adherent of short-term trading, as was mentioned by his colleagues; he sometimes managed to enter up to 300 transactions per day, not delving into any economic details.

You can see the development of a possible issue as the application of this manner of doing business might indeed not be conducive to baseball.

Steve Cohen: Which Path Will He Choose

Will Steve Cohen be seen emerging out of the gate with guns blazing, forging trades, and expensive but ill-advised free-agent signings – based on his practice of the more, the merrier when it comes to Mets roster changes?

Mets: Let the good times roll (Photo: AP/New York Post composite)
Mets: Let the good times roll (Photo: AP/New York Post composite)

Or, will he adopt the Warren Buffett approach, permitting the existing team a year or two to develop and finish what was started during the second half of the 2019 season?

Both options, of course, except the moves Broadie Van Wagenen might make in the interim.

With a firm deal not yet in place, should we also be discussing the A-Rod/J-Lo team as well? I say no only because Steve Cohen will not be denied, rising to meet and exceed all further bids if Fred Wilpon tries to balk again.

Wilpon and Katz need every nickel they can gather in this exchange of personal debt for the Mets.

And Steve Cohen is just the man to make them happy, even if neither one deserves it.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.