Trio of Mets Picked a Great Time to Have Career Seasons Heading into Arbitration

James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2011

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: R.A. Dickey #43 of the New York Mets celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 on September 14, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Three of the Mets' best players from the 2010 season—R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan—are eligible for arbitration, which began on Wednesday.

Players who have between three and six years of major league experience are eligible.

Dickey, Pelfrey and Pagan are all looking at significant pay raises from last season, and they all chose a great time to perform the way they did last season.

Dickey, at 35-years-old, will receive the first payday of his career. Before the season ended, it was thought the Mets would offer Dickey a multi-year contract instead of going to arbitration. But evidently they'd rather wait to see if DIckey can duplicate his 2010 success.

Last season, Dickey went 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA. He'll finally get a chance to make up for the huge salary cut he was handed when drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996. Dickey saw the Rangers reduce his salary from $850,000 to $75,000 after it was found that Dickey lacked a particular ligament in his elbow.

Pelfrey is going to receive the biggest raise through arbitration. Last season, Pelfrey had a career high in wins (15) and ERA (3.66). He made just $500,000 last season after his four-year, $5.75 million contract expired after the 2009 season.

The Mets will try to avoid going to a hearing with Pelfrey, whose agent is Scott Boras (which I actually forgot all about somehow). The Mets have only gone to an arbitration hearing twice: with Oliver Perez in 2008 and before that David Cone in 1992.

Pelfrey is due a raise somewhere in the $3-5 million range.

Pagan, 29, also had a career season in 2010. He set career highs in home runs (11), RBI (69), stolen bases (37), runs (80) and hits (168). He made $1.5 million last season.

Pagan will most likely be the Mets' starting center fielder next season. He's still under team control for another two seasons, but could easily get $3-3.5 million through arbitration.

All in all, once arbitration is over with Dickey, Pelfrey and Pagan, the Mets' 2011 payroll will rise to over $130 million.

The trio chose an excellent time to literally have the best seasons of their respective careers. All will seek to at least double their 2010 salaries, and all are deserving of significant raises.