Mets players on the 40-man roster who are not under contract and who have fewer than six years of major league service time must be tendered a contract each offseason by the non-tender deadline.
This includes players who are due raises via arbitration — and the Mets have 16 such players:
Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach, DJ Stewart, David Peterson, Drew Smith, Joey Lucchesi, Trevor Gott, Elieser Hernandez, Luis Guillorme, Tim Locastro, Danny Mendick, Rafael Ortega, Jeff Brigham, John Curtiss, Sam Coonrod, and Michael Perez.
Aside from Alonso, Peterson, Lucchesi, and perhaps Stewart and Smith, it’s hard to find another arbitration-eligible Mets player who’s a slam dunk to be offered arbitration.
We’ve already discussed Vogelbach’s Mets future at length.
Here are five other Mets players who could be in danger of being non-tendered…
Projected salary for 2024: $2 million
When the Mets traded for Gott in July, they sent Zack Muckenhirn to Seattle and took on the $3.9 million left on Chris Flexen‘s deal for 2023 after he was DFA’d by the Mariners.
The Mets immediately DFA’d Flexen after acquiring him in order to make room on the 40-man roster, and then watched as Gott was largely ineffective for them over the final three months of the season.
Gott performed better in September after entering the month with a 4.72 ERA, but it’s hard to argue in favor of the Mets retaining a reliever with a career ERA of 4.65 at this price point.
The resignation of former GM Billy Eppler — who engineered the Gott trade — should theoretically make it easier for the Mets to move on.
Projected salary for 2024: $1.7 million
Guillorme will always provide most of his value with his elite glove and ability to play all over the infield, and from 2020 to 2022 his bat was solid enough to make him a very good overall contributor.
Guillorme struggled badly in 2023, though, slashing .224/.288/.327. His .615 OPS was the worst he’s had in a full season.
What could hurt Guillorme is the glut of infielders the Mets have on the 40-man roster. There are currently 10 of them, meaning Guillorme will almost certainly be a bit player/late-inning defensive replacement if he’s back.
Projected salary for 2024: $1.6 million
Hernandez was acquired last offseason in the same deal that netted the Mets Jeff Brigham, and he was expected to be valuable rotation depth.
Instead, Hernandez — who had a 6.35 ERA and 1.42 WHIP for the Marlins in 2022 — dealt with pectoral and shoulder injuries and did not appear in a game for the Mets all season.
When you add Hernandez’s injury woes to his career ERA of 5.04, and factor in that the Mets have rotation depth with David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, Mike Vasil, and others, it doesn’t make much sense to bring him back.
Projected salary for 2024: $1.4 million
Ortega was thrust into a regular role in August after the Mets traded Mark Canha and Tommy Pham.
Overall in 2023, Ortega — a bit player during his seven-year career with the exception of a stint with the Cubs from 2021 to 2022 — slashed .219/.341/.272 in 136 plate appearances over 47 games for New York.
The Mets are lacking when it comes to outfielders, with only five on the 40-man roster. But you have to figure they’ll aim for an upgrade here for what will be one of their bench spots — especially since Ortega isn’t known for his glove.
Projected salary for 2024: $1.1 million
If the Mets keep Guillorme, it’s hard to see a spot for Mendick — and vice versa.
A career .242/.298/.354 hitter in five big league seasons, Mendick hit a paltry .185/.232/.277 in 69 plate appearances over 33 games for the Mets in 2023.
His value is his versatility, with the ability to play both corner outfield spots in addition to shortstop, third base, and second base.