Pelfrey avoids hearing, signs deal with Mets

Pelfrey avoids hearing, signs deal with Mets

Pelfrey avoids hearing, signs deal with Mets
NEW YORK -- The Mets agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday, and they exchanged salary figures with their two other arbitration-eligible players, Angel Pagan and R.A. Dickey.

Pelfrey, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time, agreed to a new contract worth $3.925 million, the Mets confirmed through a press release. Though Pelfrey made $2.2 million in 2009 as part of his original four-year, $5.25 million contract with the Mets, he dropped down to $500,000 last season after that deal expired.

Pelfrey quickly settled Tuesday on the first day that teams and players could exchange salary figures. His deal is a product not only of his past salaries, but of his 15-9 record and 3.66 ERA last season. Because Johan Santana will miss the start of the season due to injury, Pelfrey -- who remains under team control for three more seasons -- is the heavy favorite to start for the Mets on Opening Day.

Through the arbitration process, players with between three and six years of service time must first file for arbitration, then exchange salary figures for potential one-year contracts with their teams. If they cannot independently negotiate a deal by late February, the two sides then go to hearing, at which a panel of three arbitrators listens to arguments and chooses either the player's suggested salary or the team's.

In most cases, players and teams settle long before the hearing is scheduled to take place. The Mets have gone to a hearing just twice in the past 19 years -- with David Cone in 1992 and Oliver Perez in 2008.

Dickey, 36, submitted a salary offer of $4.7 million, while the Mets offered $3.350 million. Enjoying the most successful season of his career last year as a full-time knuckleballer, Dickey finished 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA. As of last week, the Mets had not broached the subject of a multiyear deal with Dickey, who can become a free agent after the 2011 season.

In his second year of arbitration eligibility, the 29-year-old Pagan filed for $4.2 million, but the Mets offered $3,062,500. He hit .290 with 11 home runs and 37 stolen bases last season, his first as an everyday player. Pagan, who will start either in right or center field this year, is under team control for two more seasons.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.