In a surprising move, the Mets on Tuesday paid Daisuke Matsuzaka the $100,000 retention bonus and put off the decision on the fifth starter for another day.
To recap, the Mets had to tell Dice-K by noon Tuesday whether he would make the team, be sent to the minors or released. Because he is a veteran, he would get the bonus if he is sent down.
However, the Mets paid him the bonus but did not tell him whether he is going to Las Vegas. Instead, the Mets will apparently wait until after he and Jenrry Mejia have their final Spring Training starts to decide who will be the fifth starter.
Knowing how much the Mets hate to spend money, you have to assume that Mejia will get the job and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be kept around just in case one of the starters goes down.
There likely are other financial factors at play here. If Dice-K makes the team, he’ll get $1.5 million. It is unclear how much his minor league salary would be, but it likely would be far less. Mejia, on the other hand, would make about half a million dollars if he is on the roster, so the Mets could save hundreds of thousands of dollars, even including the bonus.
Both pitchers have had good springs, but Mejia’s was a bit better and he definitely has more upside than Daisuke Matsuzaka. So Mejia getting the job would not be a bad decision.