© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

12/13/08 12:32 PM EST

Mets tender offers to five

Church, Maine among those to enter arbitration process

NEW YORK -- Baseball's non-tender deadline came and went on Friday at midnight ET without consequence for the Mets, whose arbitration-eligible players should all play significant roles on the team in 2009.

Teams had to decide whether or not to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players prior to Friday's deadline, either allowing those players to go through the arbitration process or making them free agents. But the Mets had little reason not to retain their eligible players: Ryan Church, John Maine, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez and Jeremy Reed.

Church, 30, hit .276 with 12 home runs in 90 games last season, his first with the Mets. He was the team's most productive hitter until a concussion sidelined him in May, and created a series of lingering effects that plagued him for the rest of the season. Church, who agreed to a $2 million deal to avoid arbitration last winter, will enter Spring Training as the starting right fielder.

Maine, 27, is expected to be the third pitcher in a starting rotation that also includes Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey. Coming off right shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his season, Maine will be arbitration-eligible for the first time.

Feliciano, 32, produced a 4.05 ERA and two saves last season as one of the Mets' two primary left-handed relievers. He avoided arbitration last season by agreeing to a one-year contract for $1.025 million.

Sanchez, 29, will begin his second full season since missing a year and a half after two surgeries on his right shoulder. General manager Omar Minaya has said publicly that he expects Sanchez to be more successful this season, especially now that the presence of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz will allow him to pitch earlier in games.

Hot Stove
"Sanchez is a guy we have to wait on," Minaya said. "Before he got hurt, he was one of the best setup guys in the game."

Reed, 27, is the outfielder the Mets received as part of the 12-player trade that also landed them Putz. He is expected to assume Endy Chavez's role as a fourth outfielder.

Those five players can all file for salary arbitration from Jan. 5-15, and the Mets must exchange salary figures with them by Jan. 19. If both parties cannot agree to a contract in the ensuing weeks, they will enter arbitration hearings from Feb. 1-21 to determine 2009 salaries. Yet the Mets have a history of avoiding such hearings -- when Oliver Perez went through the process last season, he was the first Met to do so in 16 years.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.