Mets rumors: 2014 payroll will likely be above $87 million, per GM

Rich Schultz

Sandy Alderson expects the club to eclipse the salary mark it finished up at last season.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson expects his club's payroll in 2014 to be above the $87 million mark it hit last season, reports Mike Kerwick of The Record.

The GM's statement doesn't give any idea of just how far above that number the club is willing to go, but it does indicate that owner Fred Wilpon isn't set on cutting payroll for the third consecutive season, which is a victory all its own.

New York's pre-arbitration payroll for 2014 currently sits at just $28 million, per Baseball Prospectus, so the decision to up the figure -- no matter how small the amount -- could end up allowing the Mets to be big players in the free-agent market for the first time since the Bernie Madoff scandal wreaked havoc on the organization's finances.

The team has a high volume of players hitting arbitration this offseason, which will cut into the money available for free agents. But even if all 11 arbitration-eligible players are tendered contracts, the payroll would increase by roughly $25 million at most, leaving plenty of room -- about $35 million -- to add a few guys on the open market.

The club is rumored to be in the market for outfielders and a first baseman this offseason, but has also been tied to free agency's biggest prize, Robinson Cano. There's no telling at the moment whether the Mets are serious about making a play for the second baseman, but the two sides did meet over dinner Monday to discuss Cano's future. The rumor that the Mets are unwilling to go over $100 million on a free agent this winter, a figure that Cano could eclipse twice all by himself, doesn't seem to swing things in their favor.

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