ORLANDO, Fla. Jacob deGrom remains a long-term priority for the Mets, but discussions are yet to commence on a contract that would buy out the ace right-handers remaining arbitration years.
A club source indicated Tuesday that general manager Sandy Alderson may still engage deGroms camp in negotiations at some point this winter. DeGrom is under club control through 2020, making it likely the Mets would seek a five-year deal that would buy out his three remaining arbitration years. The Mets would then receive a team-friendly contract for two added years of control. The 29-year-old deGrom went 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA as the only Mets starting pitcher to remain healthy for all of last season while pitching a career-best 201 / innings.
Mets officials say deGroms track record makes him an obvious candidate for a contract extension. Previously, the Mets were hesitant to give their starting pitchers long-term deals because there was a feeling if they extended one pitcher there might be resentment from other members of the rotation. But Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have spent significant time sidelined by health issues in recent seasons and Noah Syndergaard is under club control for another four seasons, putting a potential contract extension on the back burner. It has left deGrom standing alone, for now, as an extension candidate within the rotation.
Manager Mickey Callaway says he is onboard with the teams plan to keep most starting pitchers from working through the lineup a third time, but he also wants to keep an open mind.
There are so many factors that will come into play you just cant simply say that you are going to leave guys in until a certain point or take them out in a certain point in a game, Callaway said in a text message. We will lean on the numbers heavily going in, look at the matchups that are taking place in the game we will maximize everyones ability on the roster the best we can.
Under Aldersons plan, deGrom and Syndergaard would be allowed to face a lineup for the third time.
We will not allow our guys to struggle the third time through the lineup if we can avoid it, Callaway said. We want them to be the best versions of themselves and have success.
The Mets arent counting on David Wright for the start of spring training. The team captain, who hasnt appeared in a major league game since May 2016, is coming off September surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He later had back surgery.
We have to get to spring training and see how David feels, assistant GM John Ricco said. And given the fact this isnt just a couple of months, its been a while now, and to be fair to us and him we have to plan for him to not be ready, and if he is well adjust.