The Phillies signed Trea Turner, but the Mets go neck and neck with Carlos Correa.
Ever dream about the Philadelphia Phillies having their own George Steinbrenner? The late New York Yankees executive was famously known for spending loads of money on All-Star quality talents — such as Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Wade Boggs, and more. Steinbrenner built an empire and took winning seriously.
So, ever think of a mellowed-down version of Steinbrenner to the media in Philadelphia? Well, the Phillies have one — John Middleton.
Middleton, 67, is an aggressive pursuant with agents. Even though Middleton is calmer than Steinbrenner, he asserts himself to the highest standard. Middleton grew up in a family business and attended Harvard. He later sold the business for billions. It is easily transparent: Middleton sold it to buy a stake in the Phillies. That says a lot about the man’s passion.
Middleton has recently brought valuable pieces to the Phillies organization, such as Dave Dombrowski, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and more, to ultimately contend for a World Series. Wash away the days of Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, and realize that Middleton wants to win.
Middleton has proved to be an excellent owner, even though the Phillies are working day in and out on finding the right homegrown talent. The last time Philadelphia won a World Series, it was with some notable talent through their prospect pipeline — notably Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard.
In a sense, there is still some work left for Middleton and Dombrowski to win a championship.
A bolder owner in the National League East is the New York Mets’ Steve Cohen. The difference between Cohen and Middleton is that Cohen owns roughly 97 percent of the Mets’ ownership.
Cohen will spend an irrational amount of money. Most recently, the Mets reportedly signed star infielder Carlos Correa to a 12-year, $315 million contract after his deal with Gabe Kapler and the San Francisco Giants fell through. Among other deals this offseason, Cohen made Edwin Díaz the richest relief pitcher ever with a five-year, $102 million contract.
The Mets hope Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer can maintain the Cy Young-caliber versions of themselves and are joined in the rotation by Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga, who signed a five-year, $75 million contract.
If this offseason was any indication, Middleton and Cohen are both in their 60s and primed to battle for a World Series championship for a long time.