first time jacob degrom said he would get out of his contract with mets, He mentioned it in passing. In fact, the first announcement that one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not the best, had decided to enter free agency after the season was over was easy to miss.
DeGrom balked at his opt-out decision when answering a question about Mets owner Steve Cohen, who had said just a day earlier that he would wait until after the season to discuss a contract with deGrom. . DeGrom took a different course of action. Rather than wait until the end of the season, the right-handed ace, then coming off an injury-plagued season, announced his thought process regarding opting out.
DeGrom said on March 14, “Yeah, that’s the plan.” For me, I don’t want it to be a distraction. Like I said, I’m excited about this team. I’ve said it before: I love being a Met and I think it’ll be a really good fit for my entire career. But the plan is to exercise that option and be in constant contact with the Mets and Steve Cohen and the front office throughout the offseason.
It all happened during deGrom’s first news conference of the spring, back in March after the owners’ lockout ended, when the Mets wheeled their star players into their Port St. Lucie conference room. The interview, which was conducted in front of 10–15 reporters, was designed for deGrom to reveal mundane things such as how his offseason went, his goals for the year ahead and a look at his injury recovery. Updates.
These news conferences were so routine, and so mundane, that what came out of deGrom’s mouth, sitting at a Mets-logo table with a microphone in front of him, was hard to believe at first. His decision to opt out was so veiled and mentioned so casually that, a minute or so later, deGrom was asked to clarify what he had just said.
A reporter asked: “Just to be clear, you’re triggering the opt out?”
DeGrom replied simply: “Yeah.”
Once the tweets were sent, editors requested headlines on the breaking news, and the dust settled, deGrom’s decision to opt out wasn’t so hard to believe. It was the timing of his announcement, which came after missing half of last season due to injury and while his 2022 season was an unknown, it was surprising. DeGrom, as it turned out, was betting on himself.
Prior to the 2019 season, the Wilpon-owned Mets and deGrom agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension with an opt out after the 2022 season.
DeGrom was coming off his first Cy Young season when he agreed to the deal and by most accounts, this contract extension was considered favorable to the team. just a few days ago, chris sale And this boston red sox A five-year contract extension worth $145 million was agreed upon. a year later, gerrit cole And this Yankees Agreeing to a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million deal – the largest contract ever awarded to a pitcher – sporting an average annual value (AAV) of $36 million. then, consider Max Scherzer contract with the Mets, which broke Cole’s record when he signed a three-year, $130 million deal with an AAV of $43.3 million ahead of the 2022 season.
Had deGrom not opted out, he would have received $32.5 million from the Mets in 2023. Now, in free agency, deGrom is expected to receive close to Scherzer’s AAV, and potentially break his record by earning a few million more annually.
During his 2022 season, a year that saw him sustain a shoulder injury in spring training that delayed his debut until August, deGrom stood firm in his previously announced decision to opt out. At 34, deGrom was confident that he would display his usual dominance in the two months of the regular season that he had left.
Then, over 11 regular-season starts and 64 ⅓ innings, deGrom went 5–4 and posted a 3.08 ERA—his highest ERA since 2017—and the same 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings he recorded in 2021. Got out From his uncanny podium last season, but he still showed the familiar flashes of brilliance and tackled balls at over 100 mph that earned him back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2018 and ’19. His 2.24 xERA and 2.13 FIP would also rank first in MLB if he had pitched enough innings to qualify. Ultimately, he finished on a high note allowing only two earned runs and registering eight strike outs in six innings against san diego padres during his lone postseason start in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.
Soon, in the weeks and months to come, we’ll find out that deGrom’s October 8 playoff run at Citi Field in front of more than 42,000 fans who worshiped him was his final start as a Met.
What we do know for sure is that deGrom has said several times in his career and as recently as this past season that he expects to remain a Met. One of his stated goals is to play for the same team that drafted him for the entirety of his MLB career. These are both statements that bode well for deGrom’s chances of re-signing with Amazon. But talk is cheap. Whether No. 48 stays in orange and blue will, of course, come down to the almighty dollar.
Intrigue is whether the Mets believe his recent workload (combining just 156.1 innings over his last two seasons) and injury history (elbow, forearm, back and shoulder problems, including a partial tear of his right UCL in 2021) . The age (he’s turning 35 in June) is in line with the lucrative multi-year contract DeGrom is hoping for. Otherwise, he can get his money elsewhere.
A few hours after the Mets’ season came to an abrupt end, general manager Billy Eppler privately spoke with deGrom about the ace’s future. Epler indicated he came away from those talks with optimism that the two sides could eventually agree to a deal.
“We’ve had a good amount of conversations over the course of this season, him and I,” Appler said last month. “And I think we have a sense of what makes the other person tick. Things are positive. The relationship is positive. We’ll see where it eventually goes, but he knows how we feel.”
Back in August, just weeks after deGrom made his season debut, Cohen broached the subject of deGrom’s future with equal confidence — from the team side of the conversation, anyway. Cohen, who owns a net worth of $17.5 billion, making him the richest owner in MLB, is expected to make a reasonable offer to deGrom because, when healthy, he is the most dominant pitcher in baseball.
They will also receive a reasonable offer as the team goal of deGrom and Scherzer leading the Mets to their first World Championship in 36 years falls short this year. DeGrom and Scherzer only combined for 34 starts and when all things are equal, only one of them has the expected production. So, even if the Mets play it back with their co-s and keep that window open for longer, the injury risk will remain and the road to glory is no guarantee.
But for any team that signs deGrom, frontline executives know that the two-time Cy Young Award winner with a 2.52 career ERA greatly increases his organization’s chances of lifting a World Series trophy. Some teams may be willing to overlook the risks of injury and age. Will the Mets be one of them?
“We will do whatever we can to make sure that happens,” Cohen said in August. “But it’s his decision, not ours.”
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