There’s little that passes for news from the Mets these days as the club braces for a winter of non-spending.
Their primary contractual concerns are extending David Wright and R.A. Dickey, both of which will be pricey. The two are linked in that both said their decisions to test the free-agent market after next season is contingent on the efforts the Mets will take to be competitive. Dickey flat out said he would follow Wright out the door.
The Mets also face the prospects of going through the arbitration process with Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Manny Acosta, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Andres Torres and Mike Pelfrey.
They also faced arbitration with Rob Johnson and Fred Lewis, but both chose free agency instead. It’s not as if the Mets can’t live without them.
Pelfrey and Torres are expected to be non-tendered, which would remove them from the process. Pelfrey, however, might cause the Mets to think twice because he’s 28 and their rotation has numerous questions. The Mets also have outfield issues, but Torres proved he’s no Angel Pagan. I never thought I’d write that line.
Acosta isn’t worth keeping, but Davis, Murphy and Parnell are potentially valuable pieces. Thole has regressed, but the Mets have few catching options other than him.
The owners cry about free-agency causing the spike in player salaries, but in reality arbitration is the culprit. In the process, both player and management submit figures to an arbitrator, who picks one or the other. The arbitrator can’t find a compromise number. The owners usually lowball the players, while the players aim high. The arbitrator’s decision isn’t based on career numbers, injuries or other factors, and is usually determined by the salaries of other players.
So, if a player has a one-time good season the arbitrator will review what players with comparable stats are making and rule that way. It’s why the owners frequently get smoked in this process.
Meanwhile, the Mets usually attempt to settle before the arbitration hearing.
Of the players eligible for the Mets, Davis has the potential to be the most costly.
In other Mets Matters:
* Dickey underwent surgery in Philadelphia to repair a torn abdominal muscle. After his final start Dickey revealed he’d been pitching with discomfort for most of the season.
Perhaps throwing the knuckleball helped Dickey get through the season because there’s less stress involved throwing that pitch. Even so, he’s testing the muscle with each pitch and it has to hurt. That, combined with his numbers, is why Dickey should win the Cy Young Award.
* Jordany Valdespin has played both right field and second base during the Dominican Winter League.
* Last week I started a series on Player Profiles of the 2012 Mets, analyzing their preseason expectations, what they accomplished this summer and what to expect.
I’ll continue tomorrow with those pitchers not in the rotation who made starts.