It’s the holiday season. Even in these most trying of times, we find ourselves filled with the holiday spirit. Part of that holiday spirit is that of giving. Here at The Turf, we thought we’d jump down the rabbit hole to talk about some of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) gifts given in the history of sports.
Today, I’d like to talk about the time that MLB Agents were caught waking the sleeping giant named Steve Cohen.
Think back a few months with me, folks. On September 25th, the Mets took on the Milwaukee Brewers. It was a foregone conclusion at that point, but the 2-1 loss officially eliminated a dreadful Mets team from playoff contention. A season that began with such promise would end in heartbreak yet again.
Still – it was only year one of the Steve Cohen era. There was plenty to be excited about coming into the season. The fact that someone not named Wilpon owned the team was the most gratifying part for me, but beyond that was a renewed hope we’d put a winning product on the field. And for a while we did! Heck – we were in first place in the NL East for 108 days! But we all know what happened in the end. Thus, we Mets fans girded our loins for another offseason of questions, head-scratching, and what-ifs.
Hello? Is anybody there?
As the World Series came to an end, the offseason began pretty quickly. With all of the questions surrounding the Mets, they were conspicuously absent as teams elsewhere began making moves. It could have had something to do with the turmoil in their front office that had left them with several job openings, but whatever the reason, they were seemingly on the sidelines as things got going. Finally, on November 18th (two days after Thor ditched the Big Apple for LA), the Mets found a GM. It was announced that Billy Eppler would take the reins in Flushing. Optimism began to creep back into the fanbase. Surely our newly minted GM would start addressing some of the gaping holes in this roster, right?
The Mets Have Signed… Nick Plummer!?!?!?
We’d just lost Syndergaard. Verlander agreed to go back to Houston. Loup followed Thor out west. Dominos were starting to fall and the optimism was beginning to turn to concern as name after name of possible targets came off the board. I mean absolutely no offense to Nick Plummer. The OF prospect has plenty of promise, but his wasn’t the name Mets fans were expecting to hear – especially in light of how things had been going so far.
As the days lurched forward, my Met fan friends and I began feverishly speculating about when and what would be done moving forward. Reports began to surface the Mets were working on a potential reunion with former lefty Steven Matz. Those reports seemed to be getting more and more solid as Thanksgiving approached. While I don’t think it would’ve been a terrible thing for the Mets to bring him back, it wasn’t a move most fans seemed thrilled over. Then EVERYTHING changed.
Steven Matz is a Cardinal
On the morning of November 24th, Mets fans woke to a tweet from owner Steve Cohen. It wasn’t terribly surprising given his penchant for using Twitter (for better AND worse) throughout the 2021 season, but this particular tweet was different:
Just as I was getting used to the idea of Matz returning to Flushing, this happened. After researching this situation, I actually started writing a different article (entitled “Mets Fans, Are We Being Punk’d?”). It was supposed to be a rant about the state of affairs in Queens given what a horrible start the offseason had gotten off to, but thankfully there was good reason for that.
Cohen Makin’ It Rain
Whatever transpired with the Matz situation, I personally would like to thank his agent, Rob Martin, for the tremendous gift he apparently gave Mets fans everywhere. You see, after this whole thing blew up, all hell broke loose – in a good way.
After enduring a notoriously frugal Wilpon regime, the most exciting thing about new owner Steve Cohen was the prospect of him actually spending money on the team. His first big splash came last season with Francisco Lindor, but man did he dig into the wallet this time!
After being jilted by Matz, the Mets turned around and made not ONE, not TWO, but THREE significant moves over Thanksgiving weekend. They inked deals with Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte. GAME ON, BABY! It was clear the switch had been flipped, and the Mets were getting off the sidelines and finally taking positive steps.
Of course, for all the excitement of these three additions, there was still a glaring need that hadn’t really been addressed: pitching. Over the subsequent few days, several arms were signed elsewhere. Pretty much every starting pitcher had been linked to the Mets at some point (seriously or otherwise). Thus far, nothing had come to fruition. Kevin Gausman went to Toronto, Jon Gray signed with the Rangers, Corey Kluber went to Tampa Bay, and so on. It was looking more and more imperative that we do what we could to keep Marcus Stroman in Flushing. However, as the calendar turned to December, the Mets received perhaps the biggest gift yet.
The Bow On Top
Like I said earlier – pretty much every pitcher on (or even adjacent to) the market had been linked to the Mets at some point. Many names would’ve made sense in some fashion, others were bandied about just in passing, and still others seemed to be pipe dreams on the “wish list”. Enter Max Scherzer.
On top of everything else that had transpired, reports were starting to come out there was a legitimate chance of Scherzer coming to the Mets. I can vividly recall feverishly refreshing my Twitter feed until news finally broke, and Mets fans everywhere asked if they were really awake or just caught in a dream:
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Of course, for all the excitement of the aforementioned moves, we now sit idly by, waiting to see if and when the owners and players decide to end the current lockout. Once that happens, we’ll finally get to see whether the gift(s) Mets fans have received pay off. And something tells me there are more gifts ahead once the league opens for business once again. So, in summary: THANK YOU Steven Matz and Rob Martin, for lighting the fire that finally woke up the front office in Queens. Here’s to you!
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