First of all, please let me apologize for taking the off-season off. I have been going through a lot lately, including surgery on my wrist from a car accident and a move. On top of that, I have unsuccessfully attempted to get somebody to redesign this website, but did receive a couple of be-careful emails. So, I’m trying again, if you think you can help me in a redesign, please email me at email@example.com.
I planned to be up and running Opening Day, but couldn’t ignore the Mets finally, I MEAN FINALLY, agreeing to terms with Jacob deGrom on a new deal. Let’s face it, the Wilpons had to be smart enough to anticipate the gloom that would have set on Citi Field for Opening Day, and all future games, untl they got this done.
The Mets agreed to a five-year, $137.5-million extension today with last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner, that could climb to seven years and $170 million if all the options are picked up.
DeGrom also gets a full no-trade clause and can opt out of the contract in 2022. DeGrom was scheduled to make $17 million this season and was also under contract for 2020.
Given deGrom is 30, has already had Tommy John surgery and the Mets didn’t have to do anything for two years, one has to wonder their motivation for getting this done now, especially since Major League Baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2021 season. By doing this now they forfeit the opportunity to trade him.
DeGrom has yet to comment on the new deal, and his last statement was last Saturday when he said: ”Honestly, I really have been trying not to think about it. Yeah, I said I wanted to get something done, but it’s getting close to Opening Day and I think my focus is on that right now.”
DeGrom is scheduled to start the Mets’ opener Thursday in Washington. The Mets have closed their Florida portion of spring training and are on a goodwill trip to Syracuse, New York, to help sell tickets for their Triple-A affiliate, which relocated from Las Vegas.
However, teammate, pitcher Noah Syndergaard, hasn’t been shy in vocalizing his displeasure, first in the Syracuse trip, and second in the Mets’ dragging their feet on deGrom.
”Jake is the best pitcher in baseball right now,” Syndergaard said. ”I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth and I want to keep him happy so when it becomes time to reach free agency, he stays on our side and pitches for the Mets. I just think they should quit all this fuss and pay the man already.”
Of course, when you’re talking about a $137.5-million contract, that’s easier said than done, and the delay only raised more questions.
DeGrom’s previous agent was Brodie Van Wagenen of Creative Artists Agency, who made the controversial leap in becoming the Mets’ general manager. DeGrom is currently handled by Jeff Berry. Was signing deGrom early a reward, or part of the agreement, in bringing in Van Wagenen?
If it was, nobody is saying, and Van Wagenen is already under fire from his former colleagues, notably Scott Boras, who raised the conflict-of-interest issue.
”The Boras Corporation stands for a total commitment to players, and while I have been offered many opportunities with teams, I would never violate the trust that I have with any player and that is very important to what I do,” Boras said.
”I am an attorney and I want [players] to tell me everything and a lot of these things are confidential, they are personal, and if I went to work for a different employer, I would have to divulge all that information because I have to do my job for that other employer I made a commitment to.”
One has to wonder if deGrom said anything to Van Wagenen during their client-attorney-relationship, such as health issues, money issues, or commitment issues that might have delayed negotiations.
It’s a fair question, and one that probably gave the Wilpons more of a reason to pause than anything Syndergaard – whose contract will also expire in a few years – might have said or any chatter on talk-radio.
Last year, DeGrom had arguably one of the best seasons of any pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1968 with a 1.70 ERA and compiling 269 strikeouts in 217 innings, and the Mets have been under considerable pressure to re-sign him to keep the well-publicized, but the underproducing rotation of Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Stephen Matz together.
They are also facing pressure in competing with the Yankees for New York City’s attention and don’t want to be caught in the wave of teams signing their potential free agents to long-term deals, such as Chris Sale in Boston.
Even with deGrom, the Mets have a long way to go before they can be considered serious contenders in the National League’s Eastern Division, despite the additions of closer Edwin Diaz, catcher Wilson Ramos and second baseman Robinson Cano, they have a myriad of issues that need to be overcome.
However, they can’t take the first step toward contention without signing their best player. Perhaps, that was their greatest motivation.