NEW YORK -- Seven key Mets players filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday, putting the wheels in motion for new one-year deals.
First basemen Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstop Ruben Tejada, outfielder Eric Young Jr. and pitchers Bobby Parnell and Dillon Gee all filed for arbitration prior to Tuesday's deadline. Players with between three (in some cases two) and six years' service time are eligible for the arbitration process, which relies on independent arbiters to determine salaries.
Should any case go to hearing, an arbiter will listen to arguments from both sides and choose either the player's desired salary or the team's. But in the vast majority of cases, the two sides negotiate a new deal before ever reaching the arbitration table. That process should pick up Friday, when players and teams exchange salary figures.
Given Murphy's strong offensive season, his defensive improvements and his $2.9 million salary last year, the second baseman stands to make the most of any arbitration-eligible Met -- perhaps even north of $5 million. (Such estimates are based upon recent precedents from comparable players around the league.)
Though arbitration hearings focus mostly on statistics from the past season, they also take into account a player's total body of work. That means Davis, who has been the subject of trade talks all winter, can expect a modest raise over the $3.1 million he made last season.
Like Murphy and Davis, Parnell is arbitration-eligible for the second time and, percentage-wise, is a good bet to receive the largest pay bump of that trio. Given his 2.16 ERA and 85-percent save conversion rate in his first year as closer, Parnell can expect to more than double his $1.7 million salary from a year ago.
The Mets' other four arbitration-eligible players are newcomers to the process, meaning they will make significantly more than the league minimum for the first time in their careers. Gee can expect a bump over $3 million given his consistency in 2013, which included a 10-5 record and a 2.71 ERA from May 30 through season's end.
Young, who led the National League with 46 stolen bases, could receive close to $2 million despite the fact that he may serve as a bench player in 2013. Duda, whose playing time is at risk given the Mets' inability to trade Davis, lives in the same salary neighborhood. And Tejada, who remains on track for the starting-shortstop gig despite a second straight injury-plagued down year, can expect around $1 million.
All told, the Mets will likely spend more than $20 million on arbitration-eligible players, representing between one-quarter and one-fifth of their payroll.
The team has gone to hearing with a player just once in the past 22 years, when it lost to pitcher Oliver Perez (and his agent, Scott Boras) in 2008.