Its extension season throughout baseball, with the likes of Nolan Arenado, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola all signing long term contract extensions in recent weeks. The New York Mets have plenty of candidates for contract extensions, headlined by Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, but there has been little progress on that front. Fans are starting to get frustrated at the apparent lack of motivation from the Mets to get a deal done, and they may want to direct their ire towards the owners’ box.
While GM Brodie Van Wagenen is on board with locking up deGrom long term, Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon is hesitant about giving a huge deal out to the team’s ace, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Mets have a history of getting burned on long term deals as guys like Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, and Johan Santana haven’t delivered due to injury woes. deGrom is already 30 years old and the Mets have control of him through age 32, when he would finally fit free agency. The idea of letting deGrom play out these two years in his prime and avoid paying for a potential decline probably has some appeal for Wilpon, but it is a bad idea for the Mets.
The Mets have definitely gotten less than ideal returns on long term deals, but that doesn’t mean the proper response should be to completely avoid long term contracts. There are guys worth paying for, and a pitcher in his prime with less mileage on his arm than the typical 30 year old ace fits the bill. This shouldn’t be a surprise since the Mets refused to even entertain signing prime free agents like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, so expecting Wilpon to be gung ho about paying deGrom may have been asking too much.
Mets’ fans have to hope that Van Wagenen can change Wilpon’s mind before Opening Day because the risk of deGrom leaving after 2020 increases the longer he remains unsigned. Sherman proposes a four year extension worth $124.5 million that kicks in after this season with an easily obtainable fifth year option worth $31 million. If deGrom can’t attain the option, the Mets would be able to buy out the fifth year for $10 million, giving the Mets an out if he doesn’t age gracefully. This is the kind of deal that should be fair to both sides, but if Wilpon doesn’t open the vault than the Mets could have issues convincing other players on the roster to stay in the future.