The pressure is now on the New York Mets to work out a long-term deal with ace Jacob deGrom. Mike Puma of the New York Post has reported that deGrom’s camp informed the Mets that he will not negotiate a contract extension during the regular season. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com added that, while his sources confirmed that there is an Opening Day deadline for contract talks, negotiations could reopen next offseason if a deal is not reached.
This adds some urgency to complete a long-term extension prior to March 28, which is 44 days away. It is still conceivable that this will get could get done at some point during spring training, but this is the first concrete evidence that deGrom will not negotiate into the regular season. The Mets previously met with deGrom’s representation at the Winter Meetings to discuss a potential long-term deal.
deGrom — who was previously represented by Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen — is currently represented by Jeff Berry of CAA. Van Wagenen addressed the media at Port St. Lucie following the initial report and called the Opening Day deadline a “mutual understanding”, saying that there is “no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season.” Van Wagenen further clarified that he will be involved in contract extension negotiations after recusing himself from the arbitration case. An earlier New York Post story from Joel Sherman noted that there is some frustration in deGrom’s camp following lack of progress in the talks, but Van Wagenen refuted these claims yesterday and said that the relationship is not strained.
The 30-year-old right-hander is coming off an historic season in which he posted a league-best 1.70 ERA, 216 ERA+, and 1.99 FIP to go along with 269 strikeouts en route to winning the Cy Young Award. Following his incredible year, he received a record raise over the offseason and will make $17 million in 2019 after earning $7.4 million in 2018. He has one more year of arbitration left before becoming a free agent after the 2020 season.