The Mets are in a particularly favorable situation in that they have the reigning Cy Young Award winner under team control for two more seasons. In fact, Jacob deGrom has even expressed interest in remaining a Met for life, which would make him a stabilizing force in a rotation that is preparing to start losing its key young pitchers. Most teams in a large market like New York City would be ecstatic and eager to lock up a player of deGrom’s caliber for the near future. However, the Mets are not most teams, and they have dragged this situation out to the point that they have made deGrom frustrated. In essence, they have made an enviable situation into a potentially disastrous one in a way that only the Mets manage to do.
Further complicating the situation is the predicament that has been created in the Mets’ front office. Jacob deGrom’s former player agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, is now the general manager of the team he plays for. The person that six months ago was clamoring for deGrom to get the extension he deserves now has the relative authority to give him that extension. Yet, to this point, deGrom claims that no formal offer has been extended. Which is strange, since both Van Wagenen and deGrom want the extension.
“Jacob has expressed interest in exploring a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come. If the Mets don’t share the same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now.”-Brodie Van Wagenen, July 2018
The quote above was made during the All-Star break of the 2018 season, an ultimatum intended to threaten the Mets’ ownership and front office into an extension. Again, this man now has the power to give him this extension, and he has not.
All of this has compounded into this moment when pitchers and catchers are beginning to report to Port St. Lucie, and one reporter asks the question of whether Jacob deGrom would impose an innings limit on himself without an extension.
“I think that’s going to be a discussion that’s going to have to be had with my agents. I’m going to have to sit down with them and really see what they think is best for me moving forward”-Jacob deGrom
Many fans have expressed public outrage over these comments on the internet since deGrom spoke at that press conference. They are reminded of the innings limit on Matt Harvey down the stretch in 2015, and they are not pleased to see their ace take this stance. However, let’s look at what was actually said by deGrom. He merely said that he would need to talk to his agents about a possible innings limit, which was the only way he could have answered that question. If he had said no (which was clearly what he was thinking, as could be seen through a visual of the interview), then he would be giving a green light to the Wilpons and Van Wagenen to push off an extension. By giving the diplomatic answer that deGrom did, the front office must worry that not giving deGrom an extension could lead to serious repercussions for the team.
It is also necessary to wonder what these outraged fans have been watching for the past 4 years that deGrom has been a Met. I’ve seen a class-act player that has posted up spectacular numbers (2.67 ERA, 1000K, 897.2 IP) throughout his career while bringing a Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award back home to New York. That combination has only been achieved seven times in the history of baseball (Doc Gooden and Tom Seaver also achieved the feat). Even when the team has failed him over the years, he has shown resilience and determination.
Jacob deGrom has poured his entire heart out for this city, and its time that we fight for him. We have been so focused on the free agent pool available that we have forgotten OUR man, who deserves to get paid. This is our 9th round draft pick from 2010 who has worked his way to becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. Let’s make sure he gets the extension he deserves instead of criticizing him for the comments he has been forced to make due to the inability for MLB franchises to pay their star players.
“Pay the man.”-David Ortiz, regarding Jacob deGrom extension talks