New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is pleased with the improvement his team has shown this season compared to his first year as owner in 2021.
Speaking to Tim Britton of The Athletic, Cohen praised the team for making strides but also stressed the importance of continuing to get better:
"We've made significant progress as far as rebuilding the franchise. It's going to take a while because there's so many different parts. Baseball is more complicated than you think. There are a lot of moving parts, and to get it all right takes time.
"We've added a lot, but I will never feel satisfied. That’s not who I am. I'm always trying to figure out where else we can go next. I'm always in a state of constant improvement, and that’s the way I want this organization to work."
The Mets entered this season having missed the playoffs in five straight years, including last season when they went 77-85 despite leading the National League East at the All-Star break.
So far this season, the Mets are 35-19, and they lead the Atlanta Braves by 8.5 games in the NL East, which is the largest divisional lead in Major League Baseball.
Cohen has undoubtedly made his mark on the Mets since purchasing the franchise, especially in terms of approving trades and free-agent signings.
Last year, the groundwork was laid when New York acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in a trade with the Cleveland Guardians. The Mets subsequently signed Lindor to a 10-year contract extension.
Entering the 2022 season, the Mets were even busier, signing outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha, infielder Eduardo Escobar and starting pitcher Max Scherzer, in addition to acquiring starting pitcher Chris Bassitt in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.
Most of them have been big-time contributors this season and have helped the Mets go from a below-.500 team to a potential World Series contender.
While Cohen seems to like the team that management has assembled, he isn't allowing himself to get too excited after watching the Mets collapse last season, saying: "Forget even the [8.5]-game lead [in the division]. It's how they're playing the game. We had a big lead last year, but it was different. This is different. It's still early. I'm not going to get excited. We know things can change. I'll get excited in August."
Perhaps the most encouraging thing for Cohen and the Mets is the fact that they have enjoyed success despite some key players missing significant time because of injury.
Ace pitcher Jacob deGrom hasn't played at all this season, while Scherzer has been limited to eight starts.
Both deGrom and Scherzer are making progress in their rehab, and the hope is they will be able to return and contribute in the not-too-distant future.
New York is also getting huge production at the plate from first baseman Pete Alonso, Marte, Lindor and others, which has taken some of the sting out of the Mets' two top pitchers missing time.
The Mets have to be wary of the reigning World Series champion Braves breaking out of their early-season slumber, but for now, New York has to be considered a heavy favorite to win the NL East for the first time since 2015.