The New York Mets are not expected to approach team-controlled players like second baseman Daniel Murphy and closer Bobby Parnell about multi-year contracts this winter, sources have told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
Many big-league clubs have adopted the approach of buying out the team-controlled years of their younger players in order to avoid the arbitration process altogether and to potentially save money in the long term. Though the Mets have used this strategy in the past -- Jonathon Niese was signed to a five-year, $25.5 million deal before the 2012 season -- they are not planning to do so this offseason.
The Mets have a multitude of players under team control, but Rubin speculates that the best candidates for a multi-year deal like Niese's -- if New York were to change its mind -- would be Murphy, Parnell and right-hander Dillon Gee. Murphy is under team control through 2015, as is Parnell, while Gee can't go anywhere until after 2016.
The reason the team is reluctant to put down multi-year money on that trio seems to be different for each player.
While Murphy is coming off of his third consecutive solid season, Rubin hears that the Mets are willing to listen to trade offers on their keystone man. For Parnell, the wait-and-see approach comes down to his injury concerns. He was stellar in the closer role when he was healthy, but he didn't pitch after July 30 because of a herniated disc in his neck. Gee, the youngest of the trio, is entering his first year of arbitration, so he's still relatively inexpensive.
The three made a combined $5.15 million in 2013, so -- even when you factor in their raises -- that shouldn't have much effect on the Mets pursuing a big-name free agent this winter.