A celebration of Jacob deGrom's present turned into an examination of his future on Monday, when deGrom's agent suggested that the Mets should either sign him to a long-term contract extension or trade him.Responding to agent Brodie Van Wagenen's assertion to The Athletic that doing nothing "could complicate Jacob's relationship
A celebration of Jacob deGrom's present turned into an examination of his future on Monday, when deGrom's agent suggested that the Mets should either sign him to a long-term contract extension or trade him.
Responding to agent Brodie Van Wagenen's assertion to The Athletic that doing nothing "could complicate Jacob's relationship with the club," deGrom put the onus of an extension squarely on the Mets.
"We've said multiple times that we're open to talking extensions," deGrom said at All-Star media day in Washington. "It's kind of up to them what they want to do."
The Mets' lone All-Star and the Major League ERA leader with a 1.68 mark in 19 starts, deGrom said his agents have spoken multiple times with the Mets about an extension. But the parties have never exchanged salary figures.
Under team control for two more seasons, deGrom cannot become a free agent until age 32 -- something that, in the past, has dampened the Mets' desire to buy out his first few free-agent years. But deGrom has remained healthy into his early 30s, improving at an age when many pitchers begin declining. This season, deGrom is on pace for career bests in ERA, innings and strikeouts. He eclipsed 200 innings last year for the first time in his career.
More than that, deGrom has become the Mets' clear ace as others have struggled through injuries and inconsistencies. Despite deGrom's standout season, his team lost more games before the All-Star break than any Mets club in the past 25 years of franchise history.
"I enjoyed winning in 2015," deGrom said. "It doesn't get more fun than that. We made it to the World Series, and we were just a little short of winning it. Hopefully, we can get back there."
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco, one of three executives filling in for GM Sandy Alderson on an interim basis, did not respond to a message Monday seeking comment. Nor did chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, who in January defended his team's middle-of-the-pack payroll.
Adam Fisher, the former Mets senior director of baseball operations who spent 15 seasons with the organization, points out that the Mets have had a "strong working relationship" in the past with deGrom's agency and noted it would not be surprising if the two sides talk seriously about an extension in the offseason.
In addition to deGrom, CAA Sports represents current Mets Todd Frazier, Noah Syndergaard, Jason Vargas and Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of a long-term contract but then signed a $110 million extension with the club after the 2016 season.
Making $7.4 million this season through arbitration, deGrom should be in line for significant raises the next two seasons. Industry sources have suggested that the framework for an extension could look something like the three-year, $75 million base deal that Jacob Arrieta signed with the Phillies as a 31-year-old last offseason, with deGrom's two remaining arbitration years tacked on top. A total commitment of around five years and $100 million would thus be a reasonable starting point, according to those sources.
But first, the Mets would have to engage deGrom in talks. If they decide instead to go year to year with deGrom through 2020, there is little that Van Wagenen can do, other than hope deGrom continues performing at an elite level.
The third option is to trade deGrom -- an idea that, until recently, Mets officials have dismissed. Trading deGrom would make competing in 2019, the Mets' stated goal, extremely difficult. But if the Mets do decide to do so, teams such as the Mariners, Cubs and Yankees could dangle significant packages to improve New York's farm system.
"Starting pitching is always big during the Trade Deadline, whether that's me or somebody else who's having a good year," deGrom said. "The talks have been there before. That stuff's kind of out of my control. I just try to go out there and focus on what I can control, and that's throwing a baseball."
deGrom will next do so today at the All-Star Game, where NL manager Dave Roberts has scheduled him to pitch second for the NL behind Washington's Max Scherzer. Though deGrom may be the odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award thanks to his league-leading ERA, he was unsurprised to learn that Scherzer will start in his home ballpark.
The only other time deGrom pitched in an All-Star Game, back in 2015, he struck out the side on 10 pitches. His family will be with him at this year's game in Washington.
"My first one, I don't think I got to enjoy as much as I'm trying to enjoy this one, because I was so nervous about it," deGrom said. "Anytime you get selected to the All-Star Game is a huge honor. You're surrounded by the best in the game."
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook