Mets reach deals with Sanchez, Reed
Four players on roster remain eligible for arbitration
NEW YORK -- The Mets had hoped to sign at least half of their six salary arbitration-eligible players before Tuesday, the day clubs and players exchange salary proposals for possible hearings. They signed two Monday, reliever Duaner Sanchez and reserve outfielder Jeremy Reed.
Sanchez agreed to a one-year contract for $1,687,500, the $500 suggesting the two sides split the difference between two figures, and Reed agreed to a one-year contract for $925,000.
The four who will submit figures Tuesday if not signed are Ryan Church, Pedro Feliciano, John Maine and Angel Pagan.
Sanchez, 29, is entering his fourth season with the Mets. He earned $950,000 in salary and incentive bonuses last year.
Sanchez has yet to pitch a full season with them because of an injury to his right shoulder he suffered in July 2006. He began the 2008 season assigned to the disabled list but was activated April 15 and made 66 appearances. He produced a 5-1 record and 4.32 ERA in 58 1/3 innings, allowing 54 hits and 23 walks and striking out 44. Pitching as a setup reliever, he was credited with 21 holds, the ninth-highest total in the National League.
Inconsistent velocity, particularly in late summer, was a problem. Despite his record and other numbers that suggested he had regained his effectiveness, Sanchez never was the force he had been before the taxi accident that ended his 2006 season and prevented him from pitching in 2007.
"I hope to be even stronger this year than I was last year," Sanchez said in a statement the club released Monday. "I'm in Florida already, getting ready for the season and I can't wait for Spring Training to start."
His effectiveness against left-handed hitters had made him a critical component of the 2006 bullpen. He was more effective against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters last season but still not the pitcher he had been.
Having traded Aaron Heilman and left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, the Mets need Sanchez to regain his earlier form as a crossover pitcher or they will be prompted to import a left-handed reliever to replaced Schoeneweis. The club has all but signed former Red Sox reliever Casey Fossum to a Minor League contract. And he is a left-handed specialist. Battered by right-handed hitters during his 31-appearance tenure with the Tigers last season, Fossum's number against left-handed hitters were significantly better. They produced a .243 batting average, .309 on-base percentage and .365 slugging percentage in 81 plate appearances against him.
Reed, 27, is the outfielder the Mets acquired from the Mariners in the deal for J.J. Putz. He is likely to fill the role left vacant by the departure of Endy Chavez. He, too, bats left-handed and is considered a better-than-average defensive player, though not as skilled as Chavez. Reed does come cheaper. His 2009 salary represents an increase of $520,000. But he still stands to earn considerably less than Chavez whose 2008 salary was $1.8 million.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.