Fred Wilpon is starting to talk like a potential big spender again.
The Mets’ principal owner arrived at spring training yesterday excited about 2013, but also said he could envision a bright future for the franchise that includes adding some bulk to a payroll that has diminished in recent years.
“I think if the market were such, yes, the payroll could go up,” Wilpon said at the team’s spring training complex. “But not just to have the payroll go up so you can write headlines.
“The payroll will be commensurate with anything we’ve ever done, because we can do it. People have to come to the ballpark. If we have a competitive team, they will. Everything that’s in the past, you guys saw the pain that we went through, is gone.”
The Mets had a payroll of about $93 million last year and are expected to fall within that range again this season. Adding to the team’s payroll flexibility next offseason will be the fact about $50 million is coming off the books with expiring contracts from Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco (though Bay will continue to receive deferred payments after a November buyout).
Wilpon’s pronouncement yesterday, added to the money coming off the books, could put the Mets in position to chase high-profile potential free agents such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo next offseason. But all are represented by Scott Boras, with whom the Mets just finished negotiations that ended with Michael Bourn signing with the Indians.
Debt-free Wilpon says money will be flowing again
New York Post | Feb 14