The New York Mets have until 8:00pm ET tonight to tender contract offers to players on their team who are not under contract for the 2019 season. If the club chooses to non-tender a player, they will become a free agent.
The Mets have eight players eligible for arbitration, including 2018 Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. It is all but guaranteed that the Mets will tender a contract to six of the eight players — deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Michael Conforto, and Kevin Plawecki. The two most likely candidates to be non-tendered are infielder Wilmer Flores and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
As of last night, the Mets are likely to offer arbitration to Flores, per Andy Martino of SNY. However, with Jeff McNeil reportedly not being included in the rumored trade with the Seattle Mariners, it could make Flores expendable. Flores is a fan favorite who has served as a utility infielder while primarily playing first base last season. He finished 2018 with a .267/.319/.417 slash line, a 103 wRC+, and a 0.5 fWAR in 386 at-bats. Despite his defensive struggles and a troubling late-season diagnosis of early onset arthritis in both knees, Flores could still be a valuable asset against left-handed pitching, against whom he’s posted a career .780 OPS and 110 wRC+.
d’Arnaud is the most likely Met to be non-tendered. The oft-injured catcher played in just four games last year before having Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. It is not yet known whether the 29-year-old catcher will be ready for the beginning of the 2019 season. d’Arnaud was originally the centerpiece of the trade with the Blue Jays that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto, but injuries have kept him from realizing his full potential despite glimpses here and there. In six seasons with the Mets, he has a .241/.302/.410 slash line, 47 home runs, a 96 wRC+, and a 4.3 fWAR.
Earlier this offseason, MLB Trade Rumors offered salary projections for all eligible players. Those predictions include $12.9 million for deGrom, $5.9 million for Syndergaard, $5.3 million for Wheeler, $4.7 million for Flores, $4.4 million for Conforto, $3.7 million for d’Arnaud, $3.0 million for Matz, and $1.3 million for Plawecki. From here, teams and players who were tendered contracts will exchange salary figures by January 11, 2019.