Jeff Wilpon Says Mets Will Increase Payroll in '14 As Santana, Bay Contracts Expire
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the Mets have yet to set a payroll for the '14 season, but the team is “ready to invest.” Appearing on WFAN-AM's "Francesa" show, Wilpon noted "big contracts" belonging to P Johan Santana and former Mets LF Jason Bay expire after this year, giving the team "money to invest." The team entered the '13 season with a payroll of $73.4M, down by nearly half of the $140M figure in '11. Wilpon noted the front office does not have a “set way that we’re going to spend the money, but we do have the money to spend." He said the Mets' payroll could have “some effect on how many people come out and support us,” but he thinks with the "product that we’re putting out on the field, they're going to support it because they're going to be excited about it.” WFAN’s Mike Francesa asked, “Will you keep guys like Marlon Byrd here and guys when your team is playing well here because you want people to come out and watch the second-half product?” Wilpon said, “I don’t want to get into any individual player but we wouldn’t get rid of somebody just to get rid of them. We’re not trying to dump payroll or anything like that.” Wilpon added that Mets GM Sandy Alderson is “only looking to trade somebody if and when we get a piece that would not only be for next year but for future years.” Wilpon said the biggest misconception about the Mets is that “the ownership and the organization doesn’t care about the fans.” He noted the Mets ownership “wants to put a good product out there” and that his family would not own the team "if they didn’t live and die by the team" (“Francesa,” WFAN-AM, 7/15).
TAKING THE HILL: Mets P Matt Harvey is the NL starter for tonight's All-Star Game, and in N.Y., David Waldstein notes the Mets "chose not to have Harvey make his last scheduled start in Pittsburgh in a game that theoretically could affect a pennant race." But they thought he was "ready to throw an inning or two in a game that could help project his rising star across the baseball world." Harvey is the third Mets pitcher to start an ASG, following HOFer Tom Seaver and former MLBer Dwight Gooden (N.Y. TIMES, 7/16). Also in N.Y., John Harper writes, "Maybe it’s a New York bias, but it wouldn’t have the same feel if [Dodgers P] Clayton Kershaw were starting for the National League, great as he may be." Harvey has that "Verlander-factor that demands you watch his every pitch" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/16).