As the Mets agreed to contracts to avoid arbitration with three players for relatively reasonable amounts today, Mike Pelfrey‘s contract really stood out.
Pelfrey, 28, went 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA this season in arguably the worst season of his career. Last year, Pelf made just $3.925 million after a stellar season in 2010, going 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA, really displaying the potential that Mike had. Today, Pelfrey agreed to a one-year, $5.675 million contract, giving him a raise of $1.75 million.
How could this possibly happen? Historically speaking, the Mets have been one of the most hesitant teams in baseball when it comes to going to arbitration with a player. The last one was Oliver Perez in 2008 and David Cone in 1992 before that. Scott Boras, King of Agents and Leverage, probably used this trend against the Mets. The Mets said they would just go to arbitration, but the Pelfrey camp held out, knowing they were bluffing and eventually, the Mets gave in. This is just speculation, but if this is true, it was a horrible decision on the part of the Mets. There is no possible way that Mike Pelfrey was going to win arbitration and get that huge raise off the season he had. Plus, you add in the fact that his production drastically dropped from 2010 to 2011 and you, in theory, should have a decrease in pay. Why the Mets wouldn’t hold out, especially with the money problems the team is currently having doesn’t make any sense.
Also, when you look at the competition, this number is ridiculous. Jair Jurrjens also avoided arbitration with the Braves, signing for $5.5 million.
Jurrjens, 25 and going strong, had a fantastic season in 2011, going 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA while Pelfrey didn’t even have 10 wins, had double-digit losses, and had an ERA approaching five.
Today was just a clear whiff in the negotiating skills of Sandy Alderson and the Mets.