One of the most relentless stories of the offseason was the ongoing contract negotiations between the New York Mets and ace Jacob deGrom. At times, it seemed like a positive resolution was nowhere to be found and that the two sides would enter the regular season on March 28 with this cloud hanging over their heads. Even deGrom, when asked about the status of these talks, seemed to lack optimism as recently as this past Saturday.
Then, almost swiftly and suddenly, news began circulating yesterday morning that the club had reached an agreement on a five-year extension with the 2018 National League Cy Young award winner. The deal covers the 2019-2023 seasons and includes an opt-out in 2022, an option for 2024, and will pay deGrom $137.5 million and could be worth as much as $170 if the option is picked up. The Mets didn’t officially offer a press release until later in the evening, but the club tweeted out a simple smiley face around the time the news was hitting Twitter.
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 26, 2019
The move was met with almost universal praise around the league and, soon after news got around, several players chimed in on social media to share their feelings. Both Robinson Cano and Noah Syndergaard seemed elated — and who could blame them? — at the news. Just a few days ago, Syndergaard openly called for the Mets to “quit all the fuss and pay the man already”. Additionally, Ron Darling chimed in to complement the move for both sides.
Happy to hear the deGrom news , unique situation. Team appeared to have the upper hand, but at some point Jacob’s reps knew that mgmt knew his “worth”. They talked about it months ago. Great job by both sides#2018ASG— Ron Darling Jr (@RonDarlingJr) March 26, 2019
While extension is a gamble, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that it was a gamble that the Mets had to take while adding that the team didn’t really have any alternatives.
Meanwhile, The Post’s Greg Joyce takes a closer look at the timeline of the discussions over the past few days and how the contract came together.
Bill Madden of the New York Daily News discusses Brodie Van Wagenen’s role in the deGrom extension and how he had to sell Jeff and Fred Wilpon on handing out a long-term extension.
John Harper also focuses on Van Wagenen, explaining that the move “delivers on his talk of establishing a players-first culture” while saying this moves has “brought energy and fresh ideas to an organization that badly needed both”.
Writing for USA Today, Bob Nightengale says the Mets and Van Wagenen “had no choice” but to pay deGrom or “risk having the season blow up in his face, with clubhouse turmoil threatening to undermine their season.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Newsday’s David Lennon, who instead referred to the recent extensions to pitchers like Luis Severino, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, and Chris Sale as a driving force for why the Mets had no choice but to get this deal done.
Meanwhile, Tim Healey of Newsday decided to look at what deGrom could potentially do for an encore after winning the Cy Young Award and signing his $137.5 million extension.
The move could be a signal of a new era for the Mets and shows the first sign that “things might actually be different under new GM Brodie Van Wagenen”, writes Yahoo’s Wallace Matthews.
Jon Taylor of Sports Illustrated says that “the Mets for once did the smart, sensible, and drama-free thing” and called the move “the right thing”.