The Mets nine arbitration-eligible cases this winter

In a post to MLB Trade Rumors, Tim Dierkes takes a close look the Mets arbitration eligible this winter, which includes first-year eligible Bobby Parnell, Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy, Rob Johnson and Ike Davis; second-year eligible Fred Lewis and Manny Acosta; and third-year eligible Andres Torres and Mike Pelfrey.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Pelfrey will absolutely be non-tendered… not because the Mets don’t want him back, but because there is no point in paying him an estimated $6 million. Dan Warthen said publicly that he’d like Pelfrey back. There is an argument to be made for Pelfrey getting a one-year, big-league deal from some team, much like the Mets gave to Chris Capuano and Chris Young two years ago. Pelfrey is progressing well in his rehab. Also, he has a track record of throwing 200 innings when healthy. I don’t know how he fits in with the Mets, though. By the way, his agent is Scott Boras, so don’t say, “Take a flyer,” or, “Make him a reliever,” because that will not fly.

I suspect Torres, Lewis, Johnson and Acosta will be non-tendered as well, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see some combination of three re-signed to more affordable one-year deals.

However, Murphy, Thole, Parnell and Davis will almost certainly be offered arbitration. They should end up earning a collective $9 million in 2013, which is probably $6 million more then the group was paid last season.

Ike is an interesting case, because – like Dierkes suggests – this could be the ideal time to sign him to a fixed extension, similar to Billy Butler’s four-year, $30 million deal. The Mets did it last year with Jon Niese. Similarly, it would guarantee Ike good money, while locking in a number for the Mets and pushing out his free agency to 2017 instead of 2015.

Thole has to be retained as a back up. Yes, there are betters catchers out there, but Dickey loves him and there is no sense trying to find someone else to learn how to catch that knuckleball. Thole does it well, Dickey is comfortable with him behind the plate, they’ve done quite well together, Dickey is important, and Thole is just good enough to justify making him RA’s personal catcher and Kelly Shoppach’s back-up (or whoever the starting catcher ends up being). This is what happens with a knuckleballer, folks, it’s part of the deal…