Mets likely to tender a contract to starter Mike Pelfrey

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Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey has registered an underwhelming 4.58 ERA and 1.44 WHIP across 190 2/3 innings this season, failing in many ways to build on his breakout 2010 campaign.

But the arbitration-eligible starter is likely to be back in New York’s rotation next year anyway.

According to beat writer Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Mets are expected to tender Big Pelf a contract this winter even if it means paying him nearly $6 million. Not because they saw greatness in him this year, or because they’re certain that he’ll improve going forward, but because the market for starting pitching is ultra thin and the now cost-conscious Mets aren’t likely to make competitive bids for any of the few available arms.

Pelfrey earned $1.45 million in 2010 and $3.5 million in 2011. He’ll be entering his third year of arbitration.