Jacob deGrom is staying with the New York Mets long-term, as the 2018 Cy Young Award winner and the team agreed on Tuesday to a new contract extension.
New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom vented his frustration over his lack of a new deal this weekend. Turns out General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen was listening.
DeGrom and the Mets agreed on Tuesday to a five-year contract extension worth $137.5 million, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The deal keeps the 30-year-old in New York until 2023 and also includes a team option for 2024, an opt-out after the 2022 season and a full no-trade clause. DeGrom had two years of team control left on his contract and was set to earn $17 million in 2019.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner led the Majors with a 1.70 ERA last year. But while pitchers like Blake Snell, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale were all signing contract extensions this offseason, deGrom’s talks with the Mets appeared to have stalled. With his self-imposed deadline of Opening Day to sign a new deal with the club less than a week away, deGrom wasn’t happy about it.
“You see guys signing. I think I see them too. So I guess we wait,” he said in the Mets Spring Training clubhouse on Saturday.
His teammate, Noah Syndergaard, backed him up, saying the Mets needed to commit to deGrom long-term whatever the cost. “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth,” Syndergaard told DiComo on Sunday. “I just think they should quit all this fuss and pay the man already.”
Van Wagenen, in his first offseason as Mets GM after being hired in October, took notice. The club couldn’t go into the season with both of their stars openly agitated. Van Wagenen is also facing the pressure of trying to compete in the NL East, where teams like the Philadelphia Phillies were busy this offseason loading up their rosters for what might be baseball’s most competitive division in 2019.
The Phillies added All-Stars Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto. Then late in February, they made the biggest move of free agency, signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract. The Atlanta Braves, as well, look like they’re only going to get better after winning the division a year ago. Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies, rookies last year, are a year older and more experienced, while the team also landed former MVP Josh Donaldson in free agency. The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, still have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in their starting rotation as well as their own young budding superstar in Juan Soto.
Van Wagenen was active this year in trying to keep pace with the Mets rivals. In December he acquired second baseman Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in a trade from Seattle. They also signed All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos in free agency and brought back former closer Jeurys Familia, who was traded to Oakland last season.
The Mets road to competing in the NL East, however, ran through deGrom and Syndergaard. Both of them were discontent, and that tension was starting to seep into the Mets clubhouse. The new deal, though, shows Van Wagenen was sensitive to how the contract talks were affecting the team. DeGrom should be a happy man now, and $137 million richer.