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New deal for deGrom? He's 'optimistic'

Ace hopes to remain a Met, seeks extension before Opening Day
@AnthonyDiComo
March 12, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. -- Four weeks have passed since Jacob deGrom and his representatives set an Opening Day deadline to negotiate a contract extension. Two weeks remain. While on the surface little has happened, deGrom remains optimistic that the sides can come to terms. “I would like to be seen as

JUPITER, Fla. -- Four weeks have passed since Jacob deGrom and his representatives set an Opening Day deadline to negotiate a contract extension. Two weeks remain. While on the surface little has happened, deGrom remains optimistic that the sides can come to terms.

“I would like to be seen as a future part of this organization,” deGrom said Tuesday. “We have till the end of spring, so yeah, I’m still optimistic.”

Asked to update his side of the negotiations, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen declined to provide “a play-by-play on the daily conversations or status of what we’re talking to him about.”

“I’m not going to put a label on it,” Van Wagenen said. “We’re continuing to have discussions. There has been open dialogue, and I think that’s important.”

If no deal is struck, deGrom will enter this season on the $17 million contract he negotiated this winter as an arbitration-eligible player. While he could still ink a long-term deal next offseason -- his last under team control -- deGrom has said he will not engage in contract talks during the regular season. Entering his age-30 season, deGrom is seeking the type of multiyear contract that could make him a Met for life.

“Being a part of the future is definitely something that I would like to be a part of,” deGrom said. “That was a goal of mine. I think we’re hopeful, so we’ll just see what happens.”

All spring, deGrom has steered clear of the negotiation process, deflecting most questions about it and letting lead agent Jeff Berry “do his thing.” He continued that process on Tuesday, stretching out to 80 pitches in the Mets' 8-1 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Despite what he called a “terrible” slider, deGrom rebounded from a two-run Brian Anderson homer in the third inning to complete five innings with six strikeouts.

deGrom will make two more starts before pitching on Opening Day in Washington opposite Max Scherzer. That will mark the first time since 1979 that either league’s reigning Cy Young Award winner will face the runner-up on Opening Day (in a twist, it will happen in the American League as well, with Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell slated to face Houston’s Justin Verlander).

“I’m looking forward to it, my first Opening Day,” deGrom said. “That’s who you want to start against. That’s why we do this, to compete. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball, so I’m looking forward to that matchup.”

From the trainer’s room

• Infielder Jed Lowrie (sprained left knee capsule) began throwing and hitting programs this week in Port St. Lucie. Lowrie still has an outside shot to be ready for Opening Day; if he cannot go, Jeff McNeil will likely start at third base.

• Catcher Travis d’Arnaud attempted to throw out a basestealer in a Grapefruit League game for the first time Tuesday. While d’Arnaud was unsuccessful, the Mets saw it as another step forward in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The team expects him to be on the Opening Day roster.

On the horizon

Among those optioned to Minor League camp on Tuesday was 20-year-old shortstop Andres Gimenez, the Mets’ No. 2 prospect who has drawn rave reviews for his makeup. Gimenez, who made it to Double-A Binghamton as a teenager last summer, will open the regular season back there.

“He’s a really talented player,” Van Wagenen said. “He’s young and he has so much potential. For a guy that age to come into Major League camp and be able to play at this level, it’s pretty impressive.”

Keep an eye on…

Critical of his young relievers’ control issues throughout this spring, manager Mickey Callaway went out of his way to praise right-hander Tim Peterson, one of several candidates for the Mets’ last bullpen spot.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said of Peterson, who has thrown five shutout innings in Grapefruit League play. “I think some of the other guys probably need to take note.”

A date upstate

The Mets will hold their final spring workout March 26 in Syracuse, N.Y. to promote their new Triple-A affiliation. Due to weather concerns, the workout -- which is free to the public -- will take place inside the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University. It will feature the Mets’ entire 25-man roster, as well as their coaching staff and members of their front office.

“We are excited to showcase our major league club in Syracuse, the new home of our Triple-A affiliate,” Van Wagenen said in a statement.

The Mets agreed in 2017 to purchase the Syracuse Chiefs and move their Triple-A affiliate there starting this season.

Up next

Like deGrom, Noah Syndergaard will look to stretch into the middle innings when he makes his fourth Grapefruit League start Wednesday in a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Astros at First Data Field. Syndergaard will oppose right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.