New York Daily News

Cohen says his team will make postseason

- BY DEESHA THOSAR

PHILADELPH­IA — Steve Cohen is beginning his ownership regime with sky-high expectatio­ns for the 2021 Mets, but he stopped short of saying the current roster could make into the Fall Classic.

“I’m not going to predict the World Series out of the gate,” Cohen said Monday ahead of the Mets’ four-day postponed Opening Day. “What I do think is we’re competitiv­e and I do believe we’re going to make the playoffs. And once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen, right?

“So, I’m pretty optimistic. The team looks good to me and I think the fans are really going to enjoy this team.”

And how could Cohen be feeling anything but optimistic, on the very same day the Mets made their 10-year contract extension with Francisco Lindor official? The superstar shortstop will play in Queens until he’s at least 38 years old, and Lindor said he’s looking forward to being stuck to Cohen’s hip for the next 11 years. It’s a positive front office-player relationsh­ip that boldly told the Mets fan base that the $341 million deal Lindor agreed to will soon become the norm.

The optimism for the 2021 Mets derives chiefly from the buzz surroundin­g Lindor, who team president Sandy Alderson brought to New York in a trade with the Indians over the offseason. Then there’s ace Jacob deGrom, who’s hurling 101 mph fastballs in the prime of his career, searching for his third Cy Young award. Then there’s a young core that makes up the Mets, including Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Dominic Smith. There’s a bullpen led by Edwin Diaz, who looked unhittable in spring training. The Amazin’s have reasons to be confident about making it into the playoffs this season.

“I look at Francisco as a

cornerston­e of our present and future,” Cohen said. “I think he’s going to lead us to division titles, pennants and World Series championsh­ips. He’s all in, I told you I’m all in, and this should leave no doubt.”

Cohen said he made attempts throughout the offseason, since he officially became the Mets’ principal owner in November, to demonstrat­e that he’s serious about changing the culture into a big-market team. The Mets made offers for the Big Three free agents in J.T. Realmuto, George Springer and Trevor Bauer, with the latter getting closest to a deal with the club. But the Mets didn’t nab any of them, and in a surprise to the industry, their biggest splash of the winter arrived via the trade that sent shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez plus two prospects to Cleveland and gave the Mets a starting pitcher in Carlos Carrasco and the face of the franchise in Lindor.

This is only the beginning for Cohen and his projected net worth of over $14 billion. He sent the signal that he’s ready to spend big on special players who deserve it, like Lindor, not throw his money around and act “like drunken sailors” just because he added over $70 million to the team’s payroll.

“We’re going to be significan­t players for free agents down the road, and we’re going to act like a major-market club,” Cohen said.

It’s easy to forget Cohen has only been leading the organizati­on for five months. When he’s not at his self-described “day job” as CEO of hedge fund Point72 Asset Management, he’s still learning how to be Mets owner.

“These are complex organizati­ons, there’s a lot going on, a lot of moving parts, and you’re dealing with lots of different situations,” Cohen said. “I’m learning. This is a new arena for me. I think I’m starting to get my sea legs here. I’m starting to understand a lot of stuff. But it’s a learning process and I’ll continue to learn.”

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