While Jacob deGrom has kept our attention riveted on what he’s doing on the field, offstage, there’s another game being played…
While Jacob deGrom remains focused on turning in what is arguably going to be the best year ever for a starting pitcher in the major leagues, it hasn’t escaped the attention of the Mets that (conceivably) deGrom will opt out of his contract at the end of the 2022 season.
“I don’t think it’s the right moment. We’re focused on this year. Obviously, it’s something we’re thinking about. Listen, we love Jacob. He’s special.”
We’ll get back to that in a minute, but first, here’s the layout of Jacob deGrom‘s current contract.
Jacob deGrom’s Contractual Future
Right now, deGrom’s salary for 2023 is $30.5 million, with $12 million of that deferred. His contract also carries a $32.5 million club option for 2024 with $15 million deferred.
Granted, that’s looking pretty far down the road, but when it comes to Jacob deGrom, it should come as no surprise Cohen and the Mets are doing just that.
Is it conceivable, then, that deGrom would indeed choose to leave the Mets searching for greener pastures?
Tim Britton, the writer of The Athletic story, doesn’t wince, offering that “ At this point, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he wouldn’t opt-out.”
I’m afraid I have to disagree, big time, and here’s why.
Jacob deGrom Is Not Tom Seaver
First, Jacob deGrom is not Tom Seaver. deGrom has no beef with the Mets as far as we know, and this is in stark contrast to Seaver, who expressed displeasure with ownership numerous times, a practice that eventually led to the Mets doing the unthinkable by trading him away.
From a story that appeared in Newsday in June 2017, we read that:
In February 1977, Seaver openly complained about (Donald) Grant not spending money to improve the Mets, who would finish 64-98. Grant reportedly called Seaver “an ingrate.’’ De Roulet Bullock, who then worked in the Mets’ public relations department, said her family supported Grant’s position. “Everybody felt strongly, a contract is a contract is a contract,’’ she said.
At the time, Seaver’s salary seemed a pittance to almost everyone when Andy Messersmith signed a three-year deal for $1 million with the Braves, and Wayne Garland got a 10-year, $2.3-million pact with the Indians.
A day before the trade, Daily News columnist Dick Young wrote that Seaver was envious of former teammate Nolan Ryan, who was making $300,000 with the Angels. “That galls Tom,’’ Young wrote, “because Nancy Seaver and Ruth Ryan are very friendly and Tom Seaver long has treated Nolan Ryan like a little brother.’’ (Newsday)
That put Seaver over the edge, and the die was cast.
While Jacob deGrom, unlike Seaver, has no worries about his or his family’s financial security, there’s another factor in the differences between the two that needs to be considered.
deGrom’s Disappearing Ego
I know this is blasphemy for some Mets fans, but Tom Seaver, unlike Jacob deGrom, carried his ego everywhere.
Seaver’s relationship with the media was testy, at best, and reporters found that chip on his shoulder a bit too much at times.
In contrast, deGrom is as laid-back as you can find in the game today, even to the point where the Mets PR team quietly and successfully controls his access to the media.
Jacob deGrom is only about pitching his way to baseball immortality.
He is not about to ruffle the feathers of the Mets, regardless of what Steve Cohen does or does not do regarding a contract extension.
Jacob deGrom: Home-Grown And Home Staying
Moreover, deGrom is a home-grown New York Met, and for him, that appears to count for something.
Jacob deGrom knows he is holding a special place in the legacy of the Mets, and though he’ll never say it, he burns with the desire to be the best pitcher ever to wear the blue and orange.
When you look at the numbers above and the monies owed to him, there’s not a whole lot that Cohen can improve on, except perhaps to add more deferred money that will further guarantee deGrom’s security for the rest of his life.
Whatever the outcome, we can be certain deGrom’s relationship with the Mets, unlike Seaver’s, will always be amicable and fair.
With another TV blackout in store, I’ll be forced to listen on the radio as deGrom takes the hill later today. I won’t mind at all, though, as this is history in the making…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Heidi Stout Tom Seaver was called The Franchise, and deserved that title if you based it solely on his pitching prowess. deGrom has the pitching prowess plus a demeanor that endears him to his teammates, fans, and the media. In my mind, Jake is a better candidate for the title The Franchise.
Karl Hamilton I will be stunned if he were to leave. He loves it in NY, fans love him, and Steve apparently loves him. We will surely lose some to free agency. Jake will not be one of them.
Dom A Cappella Right now it is a struggle just to keep him on the mound. And Seaver was great!
Sue Mattro Just please do whatever it takes! Thank you for sharing!
Haydee Carrion Knowing the history of the Mets His days as a Mets are numbered
Dave Sklar This is a non-discussion with Cohen as the owner – he will make it happen this off-season. Steve Contursi regardless of the all spending Cohen does, the fans will judge him based on keeping deGrom. Cohen MUST make this happen or he will be compared to the Wilpon’s and past ownership when they didn’t spend to keep Seaver. There is no question about it.
Ron Naldi Uncle Steve needs to get this done NOW!!!!!!!!!!!