There is something “off” in the negotiations between Jacob deGrom and the Mets regarding an extension contract. Should be a no-brainer…
Update: Monday 3/25 6:00 AM
First, let’s be honest about Jacob deGrom. He has averaged eleven wins a season over his five-year career in the big leagues (a mere 55 wins total). DeGrom is 30 going on 31 in June, an age that usually marks the beginning of a decline in production.
Essentially, Jacob deGrom has had one good season which turned out to be a season for all the ages in baseball. And, he was rewarded handsomely by the Mets for the Cy Young he earned with a record boost in salary to $17 million for the coming season.
Moreover, Jacob deGrom is not Justin Verlander, who counts 204 wins under his belt, has a proven track record in postseason games (13-7), and demands the ball in every pressure situation (Verlander was awarded a two-year extension worth $66 million by the Astros).
DeGrom is also not Blake Snell, who has just been granted a 4-year $44 million deal. Snell gave deGrom a run for his money in last year’s Cy Young voting, and at 23 is a full eight years younger than deGrom. Snell also stands alone with the Tampa Bay Rays as a player they have to deal with before he reaches free agency status.
Not so for the Mets if they choose to engage in the new trend in baseball to extend their top young players, ensuring you get their best years of production. Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso are just a few the Mets might want to keep in the fold with modest (3-5 year) deals, securing the Mets future as well well as the player(s).
Trash All That Because Jacob deGrom IS…
Jacob deGrom is the current face of the New York Mets. He is guaranteed to put (at least) an extra 10,000 “asses in the seats”, which George Steinbrenner boasted that Reggie Jackson was worth, every time he starts a home game for the Mets.
Jacob deGrom is unblemished and in the same vein as David Wright when it comes to character and public persona. But as he looks around at his contemporaries, seeing all the extensions granted to his peers (add Chris Sale, who agreed to a new contract Saturday with the Red Sox that guarantees an additional $145 million from 2020 to 2024), what is he to think?
Well, he’s surely less optimistic about the Mets signing him today than he was yesterday…
A Deal Not Done? – Mets Will Feel The Fallout
Jacob deGrom is a professional major league pitcher. He carries an uncompromising competitive spirit to the mound in every start. To be sure, that drive will outweigh anything that transpires over the next few days regarding an extension.
But at the same time, anyone who performs at the level deGrom demonstrates on the mound, also carries an ego that has been nurtured over time from the day he was drafted by the Mets in 2010, and most likely, from the first time he faced a batter.
A spurning by the Mets is likely to show up in other ways, though. For instance, it might be manifested in a low key (non-public) when the Mets VP in charge of Public Relations calls asking, “Hey Jake, can you answer the phone when WFAN calls at 3:00 PM tomorrow for an interview with Mike Francesca?”, the answer will be “No, sorry, I’m busy with the family”. Ditto when the team asks him to do a twenty-minute signing to promote his Bobblehead Day. “Sorry, gotta take my child to the doctor.”
In sum, the shine will be lost on what now appears to be a sincere wish to remain with the Mets for the entirety of his career. And therefore, it becomes anyone’s guess what will happen when Jacob deGrom reaches free agency status in 2021.
Jacob deGrom In A Nutshell Then…
Given the age of Jacob deGrom, the Mets can’t be faulted for hesitating in granting him a substantial amount of money and years for an extension. Hesitating is one thing, but not executing a deal is quite another.
For all anyone knows, deGrom could turn out to be a replica of Nolan Ryan, who was pitching his seventh no-hitter well into his forties. The money these days says otherwise, and no player will need to perform that long to earn financial security.
But who knows, Jacob deGrom, especially since he got a late start before reaching “stardom”, could just decide – “No, I want to do this for as long as I can pitch effectively.”
Bottom line is this, though. Every team needs a player who, when a fan thinks of the team, they think of this player. Mike Trout is it for the Angels, Mookie Betts for the Red Sox, Aaron Judge for the Yankees, and so on.
Jacob deGrom is that player for the New York Mets. And the Mets would be foolish to think otherwise and not make the leap to keep deGrom in the fold, even in the face of (potentially) declining production as the years move on.
It’s only potentially though…deGrom could surprise and I think he will. You can see it in his eyes when he’s on the mound. And if the Mets don’t see it – shame on them.
Moreover, Brodie Van Wagenen’s mantra since joining the Mets as their GM has always been – it’s players first. Okay, now prove it.