Right now, the Mets lead the league in only one category — being told no.
Executives and players have been doing it for more than a year.
Steve Cohen expressed his anger at the latest rejection early Wednesday morning, taking to Twitter to excoriate Steven Matz’s agent, Rob Martin, for “unprofessional behavior.” Cohen picked up that thread in a phone call not long after, insisting the agent misled the team about how much the lefty was prioritizing returning to the Mets.
Here is a key point: Whether he shunned or used the Mets (pick your verb), Matz agreeing to a four-year, $44 million pact with the Cardinals is a symptom, not the sickness. I have seen this contagion before. I was the Yankees beat writer for this paper in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The Yankees were not just terrible on the field. But, under George Steinbrenner at his most unhinged, they were perceived as a dysfunctional clown show.
The best executives rejected opportunities to work for them. The best free agents involved the Yankees to juice up the bids with no intention of ever calling The Bronx home. My first winter (after the 1989 season) covering the Yankees, the top free agents were Mark Davis, Rickey Henderson and Mark Langston. Each feigned Yankee interest. Each signed elsewhere. The Yanks were forced to overpay second-rate starters like Tim Leary and Pascual Perez to bribe them to New York.
Nothing changed until…