Mets with much to do as arbitration looms

January 9th, 2020

Nearly 40 percent of the Mets’ roster is arbitration-eligible this season, meaning general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will have plenty to do leading up to Friday’s 1 p.m. ET deadline for clubs and players to file their arbitration figures.

With virtually all clubs now employing a “file and trial” approach -- once they exchange figures, negotiations generally come to a halt and the two sides go to a hearing -- there will likely be a number of settlements among the Mets’ nine arbitration-eligible players.

Here’s a look at the players in question (listed in order of service time), with salary estimates from Cot's Baseball Contracts:

(5.148): $11.75 million
Stroman enters his fourth and final year of arbitration, having earned $7.4 million in 2019 after settling with the Blue Jays. Stroman actually went to arbitration hearings with Toronto in both '17 and ’18, winning a $3.4 million salary the first time (the Jays offered $3.1 million) and losing his case the second time (he received $6.5 million after filing at $6.9 million). The right-hander was an All-Star in '19, posting a 3.22 ERA with the Blue Jays and Mets in 32 starts.

(5.132): $3.25 million
Marisnick is arbitration-eligible for the fourth and final time, having settled with the Astros in each of the past three years. Marisnick, who was acquired in a trade with Houston last month, earned $2.212 million last year, then posted a .700 OPS with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and a 80 OPS+ in 120 games.

(4.149): $9.5 million
Syndergaard and the Mets have settled in each of the past two years, avoiding arbitration. The right-hander, who earned $6 million last season, is in the third of four arbitration-eligible years. His 4.28 ERA in 2019 was the worst of his career by more than a full run, and he allowed a career-high 24 home runs. On the plus side, Syndergaard did throw a career-high 197 2/3 innings in his platform season.

(4.099): $5 million
Matz enters the second of three arbitration-eligible years, having settled with the Mets last year for $2.625 million. The left-hander threw a career-high 160 1/3 innings in his platform season, posting a 4.21 ERA (up a bit from his 3.97 ERA in 2018).

(4.043): $8.5 million
Conforto and the Mets avoided arbitration a year ago, agreeing to a $4.025 million deal in the outfielder’s first arbitration-eligible season. Conforto -- who is in the second of three arbitration-eligible years -- posted career highs in home runs (33), RBIs (92) and runs scored (90) in 2019, while his .856 OPS was the second best of his career.

(3.121): $3.75 million
Diaz will be a fascinating case in his first of three arbitration-eligible years, coming off a difficult season that saw him post an unsightly 5.59 ERA while blowing seven of his 33 save opportunities.

(3.082): $1.75 million
Lugo has been outstanding since moving to the bullpen in 2018, posting a 2.68 ERA in 115 appearances over the past two seasons. The right-hander struck out 104 batters in 80 innings last season, putting together a second consecutive strong year as he enters the first of three arbitration-eligible seasons.

(3.042): $1.25 million
Following a breakout 2018 season (.886 OPS, 17 home runs in 140 games), Nimmo appeared in only 69 games in '19. The 26-year-old -- who is in the first of three arbitration-eligible seasons -- had a solid 112 OPS+ and eight homers in 254 plate appearances during his platform year.

(3.042): $1.1 million
Gsellman has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the past two seasons, posting a 4.45 ERA (despite a 4.03 FIP) in 120 appearances. After registering 13 saves in 2018, Gsellman -- who is in the first of three arbitration-eligible seasons -- had only one save while finishing nine games in '19.