Mets likely to tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players

Ruben Tejada 1


With the Mets already committed to spend $92-95 million in payroll for 2016, the Mets could consider allowing one or more of their arbitration-eligible players to become free agents by the December 2nd deadline to tender such players contracts for 2016, and clear some extra payroll space ahead of the Winter Meetings next week.

The Mets were reportedly leaning towards non-tendering Ruben Tejada, who is eligible for arbitration for the third time in 2016 and is projected to earn between $2.5-3 million.

There are a few of reasons why this could be a sensible move.

First off, Mets shortstops were 10th in the league with a 2.9 WAR, largely carried by their offense as they were 26th in the league with a -9.0 ultimate zone rating and dead last with -26 defensive runs saved. That just needs to get better, and it’s hard to see that improving if they continue with what they have.

Second, Tejada will earn anywhere between $2-3 million through the arbitration process in 2015. Paying a below average defensive player with a .653 career OPS is hardly a value-oriented decision. They might be able to get similar, if not greater value out of Matt Reynolds as a utility infielder at the league minimum, saving the club upwards of $2.5 million and giving them an opportunity to allocate those funds in a more meaningful way.

Third, Tejada is coming off a second broken leg, and that could further impact his defense at a premium position and lowering his value in the process.

In addition to Tejada, it seemed logical the Mets might part ways with Jenrry Mejia after his second PED violation in 2015, resulting in a 162 game suspension and making him ineligible to return until late July, 2016.

The Mets could also consider non-tendering Carlos Torres, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and was underwhelming and inconsistent throughout the 2015 season.

But the Mets now seem inclined to tender all of their arbitration-eligible players contracts for 2016, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

In addition to Tejada, Mejia, and Torres, Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Addison Reed, and Lucas Duda are all eligible for arbitration this winter, and could earn between $25-30 million between them.

They will also have to take into account contractural raises to Juan LagaresJon Niese, and Michael Cuddyer, who will earn a combined $24 million in 2016, the $36 million which is owed to both David Wright and Curtis Granderson next season, plus the contracts for players who will earn the league minimum or slightly higher, plus salaries for players called up from the minor leagues, which pays them a prorated sum of the league minimum.

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