As it stands, Mike Pelfrey will remain under Mets control until 2014. He’d like to stick around even longer than that.
“I would be interested,” Pelfrey said about the possibility of a contract extension. “They’d have to bring it up, but I’m sure we’ll explore it. I’m definitely open to it.”
To date, the Mets have not discussed the possibility of a long-term extension with Pelfrey, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.
“Crickets,” Pelfrey said. “It’s been crickets.”
Pelfrey’s agent, Scott Boras, does not often allow teams to buy out arbitration or free agent years by signing players to long-term deals, preferring his clients to test free agency when the time comes. And Pelfrey could follow suit, even if his preference is to stay with the Mets.
After New York drafted him ninth overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Pelfrey signed a four-year, $5.25 million contract that expired prior to this season. Because he had not accumulated enough service time to be eligible for arbitration, Pelfrey then had no choice but to ink a one-year deal worth $500,000 for 2010.
Next year, his salary could increase more than tenfold through the arbitration process, giving the Mets incentive to broach the topic of a long-term deal. But the Mets must also address the instability within their own front office before they begin to make personnel decisions for the future.
“My agent and them will work it out,” Pelfrey said. “If they want to do it, I’m open to it. If not, that’s fine, too.”
In his most successful big league season to date, Pelfrey is 15-9 this year with a 3.75 ERA.
Though Mets manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen have heard the reports on Jenrry Mejia and, in preparation for his Saturday start, have watched him throw a bullpen, they have not seen Mejia throw in person since his demotion to Class A St. Lucie back in June.
The catcher, called up to the Mets Thursday morning, caught Mejia at both Triple-A Buffalo and Double-A Binghamton this season, after also catching the 20-year-old prospect in Spring Training. Many within the Mets organization, including general manager Omar Minaya, have called Mejia’s improved curveball the primary factor behind his recent success. And Nickeas agrees.
“He’s getting that over first pitch a lot,” Nickeas said. “I think that’s really effective. I think it’s difficult to swing at first pitch for a lot of guys, especially when he’s throwing 96, kind of cutting. It’s very effective.”
Also effective is Mejia’s changeup, especially when used in tandem with his upper-90s fastball. That combination, the Mets feel, should be enough for Mejia to hold his own while he grows acclimated to starting in the Major Leagues.
“Compared to last year, he’s come a long, long way,” Nickeas said. “I think his off-speed stuff for strikes has been tremendous this year, and his last four or five outings have been phenomenal. His fastball is where it has been, only it’s more consistent to both sides of the plate. He’s done a terrific job.”
—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.