Mike Pelfrey underwent Tommy John surgery in May of this year. The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months, so he will not be ready for Opening Day next season. He managed only 19 2/3 innings-pitched this season for the New York Mets, and with his status for next season in the air, it makes sense that the team does not tender a contract offer or arbitration to Pelfrey.
Mike Puma of the New York Post confirmed the news via Twitter yesterday.
No surprise, Mets person told me Mike Pelfrey will be non-tendered. As for Andres Torres, it's "up in the air" whether he gets tendered.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) October 22, 2012
Being non-tendered (in baseball terms) simply means not receiving a contract. Pelfrey could be invited to spring training after being non-tendered (unlikely considering the injury), he can pursue a contract with another team via free agency, or the Mets could bring him back on a new contract. If they do bring Pelfrey back, it will certainly be for less than he made in 2012.
Teams have control over players for six seasons after they reach the big leagues. In those six seasons, they have three years in which they can pay the player league minimum salary and three years in which a contract has to be worked out or salary arbitration takes place. If a contract is not worked out and the team does not go to arbitration with that player, they lose their control rights and the player is warded free agency. Such is the case with Pelfrey. He would have been going to arbitration based on just 19 2/3 innings-pitched this past season, or the Mets would have had to give him a one-year contract (or longer). Pelfrey made $5,675,000 in 2012. With the Tommy John surgery it would be a risk paying him more than that which is generally what would happen if the Mets did not non-tender him.
Pelfrey was drafted ninth overall by the Mets in 2005. He has pitched 896 1/3 innings for them and has a career 4.36 ERA. This season's sample of three starts is too small, but Pelfrey had a slim 2.29 ERA before going down with the ulnar collateral ligament tear. He is 28 years old and could provide a boost to another team's rotation if he returns healthy from his rehab and recovery.
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