MLBTR: Projected salary arbitration figures for eligible Mets’ players

In a post to MLB Trade Rumors, Tim Dierkes projects the salaries players will earn through arbitration this winter.

Dierkes predicts Daniel Murphy will earn $3 million, Ike Davis will earn $2.8 million, Bobby Parnell $1.5 million, Josh Thole (“Super Two” eligible) $1.2 million, and Manny Acosta $1.1 million – the combined total of those salaries is $9.6 million.

According to Cot’s Contracts, Murphy earned $512,000, Davis earned $506,690, Parnell $504,000, Thole $498,920, and Acosta $875,000 – the combined total of their salaries was around $2.4 million in 2012.

Michael Baron, Contributor

This group of players will earn a total raise of $7.2 million, assuming these projections are correct. That is very significant considering Sandy Alderson has basically said he expects the payroll to be more or less the same in 2013 as it was in 2012.

As far as Thole is concerned, I expect he will be back next season, even if the Mets have to pay him $1.2 million. I think he is assured to be back if the Mets hold onto R.A. Dickey this winter. Dickey has touted Thole’s ability to catch the knuckleball, and gave Thole much of the credit for his phenomenal year after the season ended. Thole does add value from that standpoint – he knows Dickey, has more experience catching Dickey than anyone else in the league and, despite the high passed ball total (most catchers who are responsible for catching knuckleballers lead the league in passed balls), Thole has learned to handle the knuckleball over the last three years or so. I still expect the Mets to sign an everyday catcher, which would in turn make Thole a backup and R.A.’s personal receiver.

In regards to Parnell, the prudent thing to do might be to trade him now that he has value. While he has always had closer stuff and is showing signs he can be an effective late-inning reliever, I worry about who he really is going forward. Is he the Parnell who can vary the speed of his pitches and finesse hitters while overpowering them at the same time? Or, is he the guy who just throws as hard as he can? I’d hate to see him thrive on another team, but at the same time the Mets are at a point where they have other needs, and trading Parnell could help to fill those needs. It’s possible they might be able to find equal value with a smaller salary among some of the younger arms which have been brought up over the last couple of months.

I would expect the Mets to simply non-tender Acosta, but they could look to bring him back on a Minor League deal and have him compete for a spot in the bullpen during camp. He was very good in the second half of this past season – he pitched to a 1.78 ERA after the All-Star Break – but was downright horrific in the first half, to the point he was designated for assignment at the end of May. His walks were up and, at times, he looked incredibly clueless and was throwing rather than pitching. So at $1.1 million, he could be very overvalued.

If Dierkes is correct and assuming both the Mets non-tender Acosta and hold onto Parnell, the Mets are on the hook for a minimum of $89 million owed to 10 players in 2013 – they owe $80.5 million to Johan Santana, David Wright, R.A. Dickey, Jason Bay, Frank Francisco and Jon Niese. That number can change depending on what happens with Wright’s and Dickey’s contract situations, but if it does, I expect it will go up. This is all before adding necessary outfielders, a catcher, bench and bullpen support. At the end of the day, that gives them around $10 million to spend on a lot of parts – even if Sandy Alderson can get creative and move some parts to get others, it’s incredibly difficult to fill all of those holes under such conditions.

Teams have until five days after the World Series to make qualifying offers to pending free agents ($13.3 million) and players have seven days to accept such an offer. The non-tender deadline is November 30, and any pending free agents have until 12 days after the World Series concludes (November 9) to accept arbitration offers from his former club.

To learn more about Qualifying Offers, check out this post to MetsBlog from earlier this month.

For Dierkes’ predictions for every arbitration eligible player, check out MLB Trade Rumors.