After years of financial problems, the New York Mets have a new owner and new hopes of becoming a title contender. Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who paid roughly $2.5 billion for the club, is expected to significantly boost the payroll.

Cohen’s bid was officially approved Friday by the other MLB team owners and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he wouldn't stand in the way of the deal. Replacing the notoriously frugal Wilpon family, Cohen gives the Mets the ability to acquire some of the league’s most expensive free agents.

In recent years, the Mets didn't appear to operate in the country’s No.1 media market. While the New York Yankees had baseball's highest payroll in 2020, the Mets were a distant fifth. The team didn’t rank higher than 12th in any of the previous three seasons, according to Spotrac.

The Mets watched the Yankees sign star free agent Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract last offseason. The Mets weren't involved in the Mookie Betts sweepstakes and were absent in bids for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

With Cohen’s open checkbook, the Mets are a potential destination for some of the top players on the market this winter.

Trevor Bauer, the top starting pitcher in free agency, is now in the Mets’ price range. The same goes for catcher J.T. Realmuto. The Mets are believed to be a suitor for Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who’s expected to be traded and could command a lucrative extension.

The Mets missed the 2020 playoffs, finishing with a 26-34 record in the truncated 60-game season. It marked the fourth straight year in which the team failed to reach the postseason.

The Mets won their last championship in 1986. The team reached the 2015 World Series despite starting the season with the 19th-highest payroll

In 13 of the last 14 seasons, the Mets failed to win a postseason game.

Pete Alonso Robinson Cano Mets Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets is congratulated by his teammate Robinson Cano #24 after hitting a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images