Jacob deGrom is the ace of the New York Mets. He will remain that in my eyes until he signs elsewhere. I think there are three things he’s mulling over.
Salary is #1. He signed his last contract with the Mets with BVW as the GM, and the Wilpons still in charge. At that point, he could have left and signed a bigger deal, but he liked playing for the Mets and the raise was good, so he stayed. Recently, deGrom said he still likes New York and the fans, and those are two big positives because not everyone is cut out to pitch in New York.
For the next two seasons, deGrom could pitch with Max Scherzer who I believed has already helped him as a pitcher. I believe Scherzer taught him how to dial it up at key times and not go all out on every pitch. Some of the greats like Tom Seaver would do that, then some pitchers went away from that, but I believe it’s making a comeback. Justin Verlander is surviving much the same way.
Scherzer averages $43.33 million a season so deGrom will want $45 for five years is my guess. I would offer him four with a club option on the fifth.
In the last three seasons, deGrom has only thrown 224 innings. That’s not a lot. The production for those years is staggering. It’s legendary. Mets pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner is one of the best and has done a good job. I think that’s a factor as well. That’s #2.
I don’t think deGrom loved every one of Buck Showalter’s decisions to pull him. It won’t make him leave, but it won’t keep him there if there is a better offer out there.
Reason #3 is Steven Cohen. He will cut through all the baloney and find out what it will take to keep him, and I believe that will put the Mets ahead of any other team with the offers that will come his way. I expect deGrom’s representation to listen to other offers. Why not? He’s earned that.
deGrom will be 35 next spring. A five-year deal has him pitching until he’s 40. If all goes well. He hasn’t had any structural damage in the past three years, and that’s a good sign. Is he going to pitch 200 innings again? I’m not sure, but 150 a year is good enough, honestly.
I think deGrom will stay with the Mets and possibly leave some money on the table. I think he will be the highest paid pitcher in baseball. Cohen will let him know what he plans to do, and Mets GM Billy Eppler will be on board, if that even matters.
photo by Peter Marcus