deGrom's future unclear as agent becomes GM

Ace 'willing to explore' extension as Van Wagenen settles in

November 12th, 2018

NEW YORK -- As Brodie Van Wagenen navigated the Mets' general manager interview process earlier this month, he stayed in close contact with and his other clients at CAA. Unwilling to blindside deGrom with the news that he might change jobs, Van Wagenen kept his star client updated on what was happening.
Shortly after Van Wagenen became GM, divesting himself of all interests in CAA and forfeiting the chance to represent deGrom in contract negotiations, he chatted again on the phone with his ex-client.
"Have you talked to my agent?" deGrom recalled asking him.
"I don't know who that is," Van Wagenen deadpanned.
"Yeah, me neither," deGrom said, laughing.
For now, deGrom is still working out that detail, as he tries to determine how Van Wagenen's move to the Mets' front office might affect him. Back in July, Van Wagenen was vocal in saying the Mets should either sign deGrom to a long-term deal or trade him. Like most around baseball, deGrom is unsure if his agent's career change will facilitate either of those things. (Van Wagenen has language written into his contract that he cannot fight deGrom in arbitration, among other limitations, given the nature of their past dealings.)
"That's what I'm still trying to wrap my head around over this past week, week and a half," deGrom said in a telephone interview. "I've had conversations with him since then, and they've been good. It's still a little confusing for me, I guess."
Upon leaving the GM Meetings last Friday in Carlsbad, Calif., Van Wagenen expressed interest in locking deGrom up to a long-term deal. But the two sides have not engaged in negotiations, which is nothing new for deGrom (and nothing abnormal for this point in the offseason). Ex-GM Sandy Alderson never approached deGrom about a contract extension during his tenure, despite the pitcher's interest in making something happen.
"I've remained steadfast that I think he's tremendous," Van Wagenen said. "I'd love to try to keep him if it's possible. We'll explore that in the coming weeks."
deGrom's position has not changed since the end of the season.
"I think anybody is open to an extension if it's right for you and your family," said deGrom, who is under team control through the 2020 season, at which point he will be 32 years old. "Nothing is guaranteed in this game until you sign that deal or hit free agency and sign a deal there. You just have to sit down and, at the end of the day, look at what's right for you and your family and kind of make a decision based upon that.
"I really do enjoy playing in New York. The fans have treated me great. I enjoy taking the mound at Citi Field in front of them, and it's rare that a guy spends his career with one team. If that was something that they wanted to do, and me and [my wife] Stacey felt like it was the right move for us, then we'd be willing to definitely explore that."
No matter what happens this offseason, deGrom will enter next year in an enviable position. MLB Trade Rumors projects his salary to jump from $7.4 million to $12.9 million, after he went 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA. He is an overwhelming favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award, which the Baseball Writers' Association of America will announce Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
Although deGrom knows he stands an excellent chance of taking home the award, he remains anxious for the announcement.
"That was a goal of mine," deGrom said. "I've said it for the past couple of years -- you win a Cy Young Award, you were probably the best pitcher in your league that year. Yeah, I'm nervous. It's something that I've set as a goal, and [I] would definitely like to win it."