Report: Mets' DeGrom Sets Deadline For Contract Extension

February 12, 2019 - 1:09 pm
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By WFAN.com

Jacob deGrom is reportedly beginning to play hardball in his pursuit of a long-term contract with the Mets.

According to the New York Post, which cited an industry source, the Mets' ace has told team officials he will not negotiate during the season, thus setting Opening Day as the deadline to reach a new deal. 

DeGrom's agent, Jeff Berry, also recently released a memo suggesting pitchers could look to cap their workloads in an effort to protect their value in free agency, the Post reported. 

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters at the team's spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Tuesday that the organization has been talking with deGrom's agent and that the Opening Day deadline is a "mutual understanding."

"There's no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season, and we will continue to have dialogue over the course of this spring and see where those discussions lead," Van Wagenen said. "But the last thing either side wants to do is have it be a distraction once the season starts."

DeGrom and the Mets agreed on a $17 million contract for this season -- his $9.6 million pay raise is a record for arbitration. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is arbitration eligible again in 2020 and would be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 if he isn't signed to an extension before then.

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The 30-year-old right-hander is coming off a historic season in which he led the majors with a 1.70 ERA. He had 269 strikeouts, although poor run support led to an unspectacular 10-9 record.

In his five seasons with the Mets, deGrom is 55-41 with a 2.67 ERA. He's a two-time All-Star selection and was the 2014 Rookie of the Year. He was also a member of the Mets' 2015 World Series team.

In July, Van Wagenen, who was then deGrom's agent, suggested to The Athletic that the Mets should give the pitcher a multiyear deal or trade him. But in a strange twist, Van Wagenen has since transitioned to the other side of the bargaining table.

Talking to WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday, Van Wagenen gave no indication whether signing deGrom to an extension before the season is a high priority. The GM added, however, that the organization's relationship with deGrom is not strained.

"Our goal is definitely have him be a part of this future beyond the two years remaining under his control," Van Wagenen said. "He knows we want him to be a part of it. Whether or not we can ultimately agree on something or whether the timing is now or whether it's down the road, there will be no mistaking the fact that he's a franchise player for us that we hope can be that for years and years to come."