The reigning National League Cy Young award winner has two seasons of team control remaining, but he recently put additional pressure on the New York Mets.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Jacob deGrom and his camp are not interested in discussing a contract extension after Opening Day arrives. As deGrom would be heavily coveted in free agency following the 2020 season, this puts a lot of pressure on the front office of the New York Mets to secure a contract extension with their ace pitcher.
The new general manager of the Mets, Brodie Van Wagenen, was the agent of deGrom just last season, so he should be aware of deGrom’s mindset. Even though right-handed starter is now represented by Jeff Berry, Van Wagenen has stated the deadline is best for both sides.
“There is no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season, and we will continue to have dialogue over this spring and see where those discussion lead,” Van Wagenen told the New York Post. “But the last thing either side wants is this to be a distraction once the season starts.”
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Regardless of this seemingly mutual understanding, Berry may not be interested in playing nice during negotiations. In a memo recently released in regards to free agency, Berry stated: “Front offices are praised as ‘smart’ when working within the rules to extract maximum performance value for such minimal monetary cost. Shouldn’t players also be ‘smart’ and likewise make calculated decisions within the rules to maintain and extend their maximum performance levels at maximum monetary values?”
Due to this, it should be expected that deGrom will be on the lookout for a near record-breaking contract for a starting pitcher. Despite the previous player-agent relationship with Van Wagenen, a “home town” discount seems very unlikely, especially if a contract extension is not secured ahead of the first game next season.
If the Mets are willing (or able) to offer a contract that rivals the $28.00 million Justin Verlander receives annually, deGrom may be interested. Throughout his age 26-30 seasons, deGrom compiled a 55-41 record with a 2.67 ERA, 2.81 FIP, and 1.072 WHIP alongside a 4.50 strikeout to walk ratio. During Verlander’s age 26-30 seasons, he compiled a 91-43 record with a 3.05 ERA, 2.99 FIP, and a 1.120 WHIP alongside a 3.66 strikeout to walk ratio. Although it is risky to give out large contracts to starting pitchers in their thirties, deGrom may be worth a large investment.