deGrom among richest contracts in Mets history

March 26th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Worth as much as $170 million with an option year tacked onto the end of it, 's new contract could yet become the largest in Mets history. For now, it’s a shade removed from the top of the list, with five years and $137.5 million guaranteed. Here’s a look at how deGrom’s deal stacks up with the richest in franchise history:

1. David Wright: eight years, $138 million

Wright was a year away from free agency when he signed his pact in November 2012, which effectively made him a Met for life. Given the market forces in play at the time, he might have received tens of millions more on the open market, but Wright made it clear that staying in New York was his priority. In terms of numbers, the contract wound up being something of a bust; Wright delivered his seventh and final All-Star campaign in 2013, but never played a full season nor compiled a 20-homer season after signing the $138 million deal. Back, neck and shoulder injuries were the culprits.

Still, the contract gave the Mets reason to name Wright the fourth captain in franchise history, ensuring his place in Mets lore. Rather than risk Wright shifting his legacy elsewhere, the Mets committed to him for life. They played host to his emotional comeback at Citi Field last season, named him a front-office advisor and will remain entwined with him forever. Combined with the tens of millions Mets ownership recouped through an insurance policy on Wright’s contract, this hardly wound up being a bad deal for the team.

2. deGrom: five years, $137.5 million

Time will tell if deGrom can outperform his contract, but as in Wright’s case, this deal gives him a chance to play his entire career for the Mets. That’s worth something well beyond his ERA.

Few expect deGrom to replicate his otherworldly 2018 season even once, let alone multiple times over the life of his contract. Still, the Mets are hopeful deGrom has additional All-Star and Cy Young-caliber seasons ahead of him in his early 30s. It will depend largely upon the long-term health of deGrom, who underwent Tommy John surgery as a prospect in 2010.

3. Johan Santana: six years, $137.5 million

This contract extension was a condition of the Mets trading for Santana, a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, before the 2008 season. He was supposed to put the team over the top after its 2007 September collapse, but even one of Santana’s best seasons ever -- a 2.53 ERA in 234 1/3 innings -- was not enough. Injury struck for the first time in 2009, then again in 2010, when Santana underwent major shoulder surgery. He returned two years later to throw the only no-hitter in franchise history, but started only 10 more games in his career.

All told, Santana threw 717 innings with a 3.18 ERA over parts of four seasons with the Mets. He never appeared in a postseason game and, in two of the six years he was under contract, he did not pitch at all.

4. Carlos Beltran: seven years, $119 million

History has not always been kind to Beltran’s Mets tenure, in large part because of the called third strike he took to end the 2006 National League Championship Series. But the contract Beltran signed before the 2005 season was actually one of the most productive long-term deals in Major League history. Over the first four years of it, Beltran hit .275 with 117 homers, 83 stolen bases and an .867 OPS, making the All-Star Game three times. Injuries began hacking into Beltran’s game in 2009, but he remained productive when healthy -- enough so that the Mets were able to deal him to the Giants at the 2011 non-waiver Trade Deadline for Zack Wheeler.

For New York, this deal could not have realistically worked out much better.

5. Yoenis Cespedes: four years, $110 million

The Mets nearly let walk after the 2015 season, before agreeing on a three-year, $75 million contract with an opt-out after 2016. When Cespedes exercised that clause, the Mets pursued him more ardently than ever, striking a deal they have mostly come to regret.

Over the first two years of a contract that runs through 2020, various heel, hamstring, quadriceps, hip and thumb ailments have limited Cespedes to 119 games. He will miss at least the first half of this season recovering from multiple foot surgeries and is not a lock to return at all in 2019. As in Wright’s case, the Mets have recouped a significant portion of the outfielder’s salary through insurance, though they’d prefer a healthy Cespedes in the middle of their lineup.