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Steve Cohen worried about Mets bullpen, not looming payroll jump

The Mets’ payroll of $291.8 million is the highest in Major League Baseball, and it’s poised to get even higher next season — if the team keeps it core together.

Owner Steve Cohen, the man with the deepest pockets in baseball, isn’t too concerned with how much 2023 will cost him.

“We’ll see that happens,” he told The Post’s Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman on “The Show” podcast. “I haven’t really even thought about what I’m going to do next year as far as a budget, right? I haven’t sat down with [general manager] Billy [Eppler] and the rest of the team and that’s gonna happen after the season. “

Chief among their discussions will be the status of ace Jacob deGrom, who plans to decline of his $30.5 million option for next season. As The Post’s Mike Puma postulates, that number could go up to $50 million annually.

Closer Edwin Diaz will likely be in position to demand that largest contract for a reliever in baseball history — possibly as high as $25 million per season. Infielders Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil are arbitration eligible and due some hefty raises as well.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen sits in the owners box
Steve Cohen has some payroll concerns for 2023, but he’s focused more on the Mets bullpen struggles right now.
Charles Wenzelberg/ New York Post

“We can figure this out pretty quickly — these decisions aren’t the hard,” Cohen said. “It really depends on who we want to bring back, what are the other opportunities out there, and we’ll figure it out. That’s part of the process.”

Before the offseason of spending begins, the 66-year-old hedge fund manager is concentrating on the stretch run. The Mets are three games ahead of the defending World Series champion Braves in the NL East and find themselves among the title favorites. With the calendar turning to September, there is some concern about his roster.

“As you get into the playoffs, I think our starting pitching is really terrific,” Cohen said. “As far as our relief pitching, I’m a little bit worried as far as our consistency.”

The Mets bullpen ERA of 3.62 ranks 11th, though the team’s inability to shore up its relief corps at the trade deadline, coupled with Joely Rodriguez’s struggles, make for a postseason question mark.

There is room for optimism with reinforcements on their way back, however.

 Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom walks back to the dugout
Jacob deGrom’s looming contract negotiation is a Mets priority this offseason.
Jason Szenes for the New York Post

“[Adam] Ottavino has been pitching really well for a while, [Seth] Lugo is starting to hit his stride I think that’s is really important,” Cohen said. “Don’t forget, we have Drew Smith coming back soon, Tylor Megill is gonna come back — I think the plan’s to put him in the bullpen. So we have some pieces coming back that are gonna supplement what we already have.

“Obviously Trevor May was hurt, he’s come back. I think as he gets more innings under his belt, he’s going to start to perform really well too. I think we’re gonna look really good as we enter the playoffs. It think we’re gonna be pretty deep there. Between our starting pitching and some of these additions as they come back in September, we’re gonna be pretty strong heading into the playoffs.”

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