New York Mets: Why you shouldn’t worry about a Jacob deGrom contract extension right now

Jacob deGrom (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jacob deGrom (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets will head into the 2019 season with the biggest elephant in the room being the Jacob deGrom contract situation. Here is why you shouldn’t worry about that right now.

With the New York Mets and Jacob deGrom, the saying is more or less the same as it always is for Mets fans. Why can’t Mets fans have nice things? It is like Murphy’s’ Law only applies in Flushing Meadows.

What can go wrong, will. Even when it comes to deGrom. Yeah, he’s a star pitcher who just won the Cy Young and in the prime of his career. He is the potential face of the franchise.

But naturally, the Mets cannot have nice things and there is always a catch. There is always something. Just look at Yoenis Cespedes. Hey, at least Jason Bay made it to a Hall of Fame, the Canadian one.

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So, what is the issue with deGrom? Normally, it would be nothing. He has Tom Seaver potential without any of the injury problems like Matt Harvey. Or without the off the field issues like Dwight Gooden.

But, once again, and this is becoming a league-wide issue, I mean why else is Bryce frigging Harper not signed, it is a contract issue.

But at this point, I don’t even know if we can call it an issue. It is becoming the biggest elephant in the room, that being why the Mets will not extend him already, but that is more a reflection of the Mets resolving all other issues and needs this offseason.

I would agree, it is kind of interesting how the Mets and deGrom are not even talking about an extension. After all, this whole thing instantly became 10x more difficult when deGrom’s former agent became the general manager of the team in Brodie Van Wagenen.

So, the biggest and most important long-term job the Mets’ general manager would have had it been literally any other human would be to lock up their ace. But, that can’t happen, Van Wagenen cannot even negotiate.

Aside from that normally de-railing issue, the Mets do have complete leverage in this dilemma. It seems crazy, but they don’t have to be negotiating right now, they shouldn’t be. This is not a knock on deGrom he is beyond great but look at the facts.

This winter, deGrom got a one year deal worth $17M. That is not chump change, folks. It was the biggest raise in MLB history.

So, it is not like deGrom is getting ripped off. He won the Cy Young, but 17 million dollars is pretty solid.

Also, he is not up for free agency after this season, he gets his fourth year of arbitration as things stand. So, he is essentially under team control for two more seasons.

The thing is, deGrom is already 30 years old right now. He will be going into his age 32 season when he is technically a free agent if the Mets do not extend him.

That is what gives the Mets a lot of leverage. Why lock him to a five-year deal, just to give a number, when he will be 35 in five years?

Even if the Mets offer him what pitchers of his caliber typically get, around six or seven years, they are playing in dangerous territory in terms of when that deal will end.

While deGrom is only getting better with age now, that is unlikely to go on forever. The Mets do not need to extend him and can see how he does as he goes deeper into his 30s.

Plus, if he goes out this season and has another Cy Young caliber season, not like 2018 because that will almost be impossible to duplicate, but a similar season, then the Mets will know he will be fine with age, like a fine wine.

“Down the road, when it is actually time to be worried that the sides are not talking about an extension, then we can all worry. For now, just be happy about having deGrom and having an ambitious GM who is trying to win while they still do.”

But, for the Mets to even consider extending him right now wouldn’t make much sense. They aren’t exactly brilliant with their money and if one thing goes wrong from now until he is actually a free agent or should have been, riots will break out.

So, the Mets have the leverage. Even if deGrom and his agent makes the Mets give him a pitch count or inning limit until he is re-signed to a longer deal, then let him. Either way, that is a risk.

It is all give or take. The Mets are betting on themselves that they will know what to do by 2020 when he is a free agent and deGrom and his camp are betting on themselves that deGrom is not going to regress.

If deGrom were to walk (that would be terrible) but is it really that crazy to let him walk? Especially if a team gives a 32-year-old pitcher who has already likely had his best season a seven or eight-year deal? No.

Jacob deGrom is always going to be loved in New York. He is already a Mets legend. He has been to two all-star games, won rookie of the year, pitched in a World Series, and won a Cy Young.

He has done a lot more, in a lot less than most Mets players. With that, look at the past Mets Cy Young winners too. Imagine if the Mets extended R.A. Dickey after his Cy Young season?

That would have been a disaster. After his Cy Young season in 2012, he never had an ERA under 3.0 again, never won more than 15 games and was out the league by 2017. The real catch is that by trading him, the Mets ended up with Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud.

That could be a similar thing for Jacob deGrom, but with even more of a return because deGrom is miles ahead of Dickey.

Speaking of trading away Cy Young winners, this is the same team that once traded away Tom Seaver. The same Tom Seaver who spent decades as undoubtedly the greatest Met player of all-time.

It is not exactly Mets like to not trade their best pitcher eventually. Even Doc Gooden isn’t a Mets lifer.

No, my point is not that the Mets should trade deGrom or that they will. What my point is that it is a more likely scenario historically than extending him right now would be.

Plus, let’s say in the next two seasons deGrom wins another Cy Young? What if he wins another playoff game?

Then extending him is a no-brainer because even if after two years into the extension, if things go sour he will be loved and all will be well. Much like David Wright who was injured after his extension, things went sour, but he is still adored and should be.

So, no matter what deGrom and his camp do, the Mets have all the leverage in this. No team should want to lose their best player, but the Mets have always found a loophole for these things.

The only thing deGrom could do for himself is continue to deal and then prove he can defy age and be the exception to ‘the Mets can’t have nice things’, not the rule.

For now, Mets fans, relax. deGrom is going to be the guy to lead us into the Brodie Van Wagenen era and is the reigning Cy Young.

Maybe the Mets should be using this season to decide what to do with Zack Wheeler, who is actually a free agent after this one.

And it is not the Mets’ nor deGrom’s fault that the Mets have the leverage here. deGrom is their player, it is just the system. It is what it is. The only thing the Mets could do is make it worse. But, they have done everything right so far.

The Mets need to keep their best player and franchise pitcher. The Mets need to keep Jacob deGrom at all costs. They just do not need to do about it right now. Because right now, deGrom is a Met and the season is starting.

Down the road, when it is actually time to be worried that the sides are not talking about an extension, then we can all worry. For now, just be happy about having deGrom and having an ambitious GM who is trying to win while they still do.

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Maybe the Mets can have nice things. Just do not expedite it for no reason whatsoever.