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Mets' Bickford is released after winning in arbitration, gets termination pay rather than salary

New York Mets pitcher Phil Bickford pauses on the mound during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Right-hander Phil Bickford was released by the New York Mets on Tuesday after clearing waivers, the second major league player cut loose this month after winning in salary arbitration.

The 28-year-old reliever will receive $217,742 in termination pay rather than the $900,000 salary chosen by a three-person panel over the Mets' $815,000 offer.

Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, salaries determined in arbitration are not guaranteed. A player with a nonguaranteed contract receives 45 days' termination pay if released within 15 days of opening day and 30 days' pay if released earlier in spring training.

Third baseman J.D. Davis was released by San Francisco on March 11 after winning $6.9 million in arbitration and got $1,112,903 in termination pay from the Giants. He agreed five days later to a $2.5 million, one-year contract with Oakland that allows him to earn $1 million more in performance bonuses.

Bickford was designated for assignment by the Mets on Sunday to open a roster spot for designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract. Bickford was 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA and one save in 25 games with the Mets, who acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 1. Overall, Bickford went 5-5 with a 4.95 ERA in 61 games last year, striking out 76 and walking 39 in 67 1/3 innings.

A four-year major league veteran, Bickford is 11-8 with a 4.43 ERA and two saves in 179 games for Milwaukee (2020-21), the Dodgers (2021-23) and the Mets.

Salary agreements for arbitration-eligible players became guaranteed in the 2022 labor contract.

The Mets also released first baseman Luke Voit from a minor league contract. The former AL home run champion hit .118 with one homer and four RBIs in 34 at-bats over 14 spring training games.

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