Even though reliever Jenrry Mejia was suspended twice for performance enhancing drugs last season – including a current 162 game suspension that’ll continue into the 2016 season – the New York Mets plan to keep the arbitration-eligible Mejia and will not non-tender him at Wednesday’s deadline, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
Mejia, 26, is currently pitching for Licey in the Dominican Winter League (4.09 ERA, 33.1 IP), where the Mets have been monitoring him this offseason.
He earned $2.595 million this past season and by rule, arbitration-eligible players must receive at least 80 percent of their previous year’s salary if they are tendered.
That’s a minimum of $2.076 million in Mejia’s case, but he could even receive the identical $2.595 million salary in 2016, depending on how the sides settle or what an arbitrator decides, Rubin explains.
Of course the salary will be prorated due to his suspension which ends on July 29.
Since Mejia is still on the suspended list, the Mets could tender him a contract without using a 40-man roster spot.
Regardless of what transpired, Mejia could still be a valuable asset for the organization, which could come into play at some point next season either as a useful piece in the big-league bullpen or as a trade chip.
While it’s not yet known how much of Mejia’s performance in 2013 (2.46 ERA) and 2014 (3.73 ERA) was performance enhanced, it will only cost the Mets roughly $1.1 million to keep him and see what if anything he can bring to the table.