Jacob deGrom may be sporting shorter hair now, but that doesn’t mean he’s thinking short-term.
The righty briefly engaged in extension talks with the Mets prior to avoiding arbitration on a one-year, $7.4 million deal earlier this month. Due to hit free agency in 2020, this is deGrom’s second year of arbitration and he has nearly doubled his salary from his first raise last offseason.
He certainly earned it. In an otherwise bleak and injury-riddled 2017 season, deGrom was the one constant for the Mets, throwing over 200 innings for the first time in his career and putting together his most valuable season yet with 4.4 fWAR and 10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings. The most consistent pitcher in the Mets rotation over the past 4 years, Jacob deGrom’s remaining arbitration years are not going to come cheap. For deGrom, an extension only seems worth it if the Mets buy out at least one of his free agent years. However, he will be 32 years old when he hits free agency for the first time, older than most first-time free agents, which may make him more agreeable to an extension.
And he remains open to discussing it. “I enjoy playing here. I would definitely be open to talking to them about a extension,” deGrom said. “If they want to talk about something, if we can agree to something that we feel is fair, I’d be open to doing that. But as of right now, it looks like it’s going to be a year-to-year thing.”
deGrom expects big things from himself and the Mets this season. In addition to changing his look, he has had to adapt to changing his manager and his pitching coach. After vehemently defending Dan Warthen and Terry Collins at the end of last season, it seems deGrom is warming up to his new mentors, Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland.
deGrom said he was “very impressed” with Callaway and Eiland. “Had several phone calls with them. Enjoyed talking to them. Think it’s going to be a good change. Think those guys are going to help us. Out a lot and get everybody pulling in the same direction.”
About to be a father for a second time, Jake is setting the bar high for the Mets 2018. “The plan was to contend last year, but with injuries we weren’t able to,” he said. “Now you get all these guys back, I think that’s the plan again this year is to contend. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody in Spring Training, and hoping everyone’s healthy.”
Oh, and he wants to win a Cy Young award too. To add that to his Rookie of the Year and All-Star accolades would be another (likely expensive) feather in his cap.
The Mets have notably not engaged in much extension talk with their young starting rotation and this isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumblings of a deGrom extension, only to have talks fizzle out. Given the injuries that have piled up for their other young hurlers, not taking the plunge has perhaps worked in the Mets’ favor thus far. But deGrom seems to be the exception. While the two sides may yet reach an agreement, the window for the most advantageous arrangement for the Mets may have already passed.
“I got this year and two more,” deGrom said. “I am still going to be here a little while. If they want to extend past that, then we’ll see where it goes.”