When it comes to spending money, it’s always a long, drawn-out process for the New York Mets. Now, it might affect the future of their star ace Jacob deGrom.
Multiple reports on Tuesday revealed that the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner and his representation have set an Opening Day deadline for the Mets to negotiate and work out a contract extension for the 30-year-old right-hander.
DeGrom is still under team control through the 2020 season, which means the Mets will get another chance to negotiate with him next winter. As it stands, he’ll have to go through a fourth year of arbitration before becoming an unrestricted free agent ahead of the 2021 campaign.
While the Mets have claimed that re-signing deGrom to a long-term deal was a major priority, they have yet to make a single offer to secure him in Queens for the rest of his career.
It’s a complete 180 performed by Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who last year as deGrom’s agent, demanded that the Mets either sign his client to an extension immediately or trade him.
Despite the shocking trade buzz at times throughout the summer, deGrom put together one of the finest pitching seasons in franchise history, sporting a league-best 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and just 46 walks. Those numbers saw him become just the third pitcher in MLB history since 1908 to put up a sub-2.00 ERA with over 250 strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks.
It’s because of the 2018 season why the Mets might actually not be chomping at the bit to secure deGrom. His value is through the roof despite a 10-9 record and it’s well-known that the Mets are always hesitant to dole out big contracts.
It would come as a shock to no one if Van Wagenen was ordered by the owning Wilpon family to hold off on negotiations until next offseason seeing as it would be unlikely for deGrom to replicate those sterling numbers from last season.
Such penny-pinching, shrewd tactics won’t come without their risks, though. If the Mets fail to contend in 2019 and deGrom fails to get the offensive support like he did last year, he could tell the Mets that he won’t re-sign with them regardless of their offer.
Then the Wilpons and Van Wagenen will be faced with a future without one of the best pitchers in the game.