While Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets’ front office continue to party like its 2016, some of their players have their eyes on the future. One player with his eye on the long term is starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, who will earn $7.4 million this season. deGrom, who went 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA for the 92 loss Mets in 2017, is under team control through 2020 before becoming eligible for free agency. The prudent move for both sides would be to agree to a long term contact extension, and deGrom is certainly open to that, telling Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he wants to stay in Queens with a new deal.
deGrom told Ackert,
“I enjoy playing here so if they talk and we can agree on something that we feel is fair then I’d be open to doing that. As of right now, it looks like its going to be a year to year thing. I got this year and two more. I am still going to be here a little while. If they want to extend past that, then we’ll see where it goes.”
The Mets confirmed earlier this week that they held preliminary extension talks with deGrom this winter, but opted to settle in arbitration again. There is no real urgency to get a deal done right now, per se, but the Mets shouldn’t wait too much longer to lock in deGrom for the long term. deGrom is 29 now and would be 32 years old when he reaches free agency, so he may be more likely than any other pitcher in the Mets’ rotation to seek financial stability with a Tommy John surgery in his past. MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone noted that MLB executives believe the team should offer deGrom a four year deal worth $50-60 million along with two team options for $16 and $17 million. That type of deal structure would make carry deGrom through his age 33 season, while giving the Mets options for his age 34 and 35 campaigns.
The problem with waiting is that if deGrom is in the mix for a Cy Young again his price tag will likely increase. deGrom is a bargain at $7.4 million if he performs like he is capable of, so if he is willing to sign a long term deal the Mets should be more aggressive in pursuing one. A long term deal would increase deGrom’s pay more quickly, which may be an issue given the Mets’ questionable finances, but it would also give them more cost certainty through the next few years. This can help for future budgeting purposes and give them one less contract to worry about at arbitration time while giving deGrom peace of mind to go along with financial security. The longer the Mets wait, however, the more expensive it will get to convince deGrom to give up a shot at free agency in three years in exchange for a few extra years of team control.