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Jeff Wilpon: Mets will have higher payroll for 2014 season after big contracts come off books

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, left, and Mets

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, left, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, right, look on during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) Credit: Alejandra Villa

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told WFAN radio on Monday that the team is prepared to invest aggressively in the club's payroll for 2014, helped by improved flexibility because big contracts such as those of Johan Santana and Jason Bay are set to expire.

"We haven't set a payroll for next year, but I can tell you we're ready to invest with those big contracts coming off the books," Wilpon said. "We have the money to invest. We're going to invest it prudently. Sandy [Alderson, the general manager] is going to set a path.

"There's no predetermined, set way we're going to spend the money, but we do have the money to spend, and depending how it all falls out . . . what trades can be made or can't be made, and where Sandy thinks the best use of those funds are."

Wilpon expressed optimism that fans will turn out to support an improved, exciting young team.

"It has some effect on how many people come out and support us," Wilpon said. "But we think the product we're going to be putting on the field, [the fans] are going to come out and support it because they're going to be excited about it, with the young kids as well."

Wilpon was asked what the biggest misconception is about the organization and said, "I think that ownership and the organization doesn't care about the fans. We care about the fans. We want to put a good product out there.

"We live and die with the team, and we wouldn't own it if we didn't want to live and die with the team. This is our life, this is our business and we'd like to do a better job at it. And we need to do a better job, and we will . . . We're going to do what we need to do to win."

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