NEW YORK — The Mets began gaining salary clarity on a significant portion of their roster on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with first baseman Dominic Smith and a one-year, $1.3 million deal with reliever Robert Gsellman, while actively negotiating with several other arbitration-eligible players.
NEW YORK — The Mets began gaining salary clarity on a significant portion of their roster on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with first baseman
The club has not confirmed either deal.
Friday is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures on new one-year contracts for players with between three (sometimes two) and six years of Major League service time. Teams and players frequently use the deadline as the impetus to sign a new deal, as Smith and Gsellman did. If the two sides cannot agree, the final step in the process is to have an arbitration panel choose either the team or the player’s suggested salary.
The Mets have a slew of arbitration-eligible players this year — most notably shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Michael Conforto, who could use salary-exchange day as a jumping-off point to negotiate long-term deals. Team officials have been open in discussing their desire to talk to both players about extensions.
Smith is also a crucial piece of the 2021 Mets after breaking out in ‘20 with a .993 OPS, 10 homers and 42 RBIs. The major question is where Smith will play. If the designated hitter returns to the National League, he will spend most days there and at first base. If not, Smith might be forced back into left field, where he is a below-average defender. In either case, Smith has proven enough with his bat that the Mets consider him a critical part of their future.
Gsellman was a non-tender candidate late last year, but the Mets decided to tender him a one-year deal that is now worth $1.3 million. He missed 2020 Opening Day due to a right triceps injury, then tried to stretch out as a starting pitcher in the middle of the season with poor results, posting a 9.64 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances. Still, the Mets believe Gsellman can be a valuable member of their bullpen going forward.
The team previously agreed to deals to avoid arbitration with starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard ($9.7 million) and Steven Matz ($5.2 million), outfielder Guillermo Heredia ($1 million) and reliever Jacob Barnes ($750,000). Others eligible for arbitration include Lindor, Conforto, Edwin Díaz, Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, Miguel Castro and J.D. Davis.