WASHINGTON (CBS Sports) — Mets ace Jacob deGrom has obviously been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal 2018 for the Queenslanders. Despite the Mets’ being on pace for 95 losses and a last-place finish (yes, they’re behind the Marlins in the standings) deGrom has positioned himself as an NL Cy Young contender.
In his age-30 season, the All-Star deGrom has pitched to an MLB-best 1.68 ERA with a 4.97 K/BB ratio after 19 starts. For his career, he owns a sparkling 140 ERA+ across parts of five big-league seasons. Yes, deGrom has had injury concerns in the past, but it’s all come together this season. His excellence in tandem with the Mets’ awfulness has led to speculation and even reportage that he’ll be traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. As well, deGrom isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, which only adds to his appeal on the market. The Mets themselves have sent mixed signals on this matter, especially since GM Sandy Alderson took a leave of absence to focus on his health.
As for deGrom and his representatives, they sound like they’d like the Mets to make a choice. Here are the relevant goods from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:
During All-Star Game media day availability, the pitcher himself added a little clarification:
As a front-line contributor still in his pre-free agency years, deGrom’s been paid far less than he’s been worth to the Mets. DeGrom’s also older than most players of similar service time, so he’s likely open to signing away a free-agent year or two in exchange for financial security. The Mets, though, must decide if deGrom is going to be around and in something near peak form by the time they’re ready to contend again. If not, they should trade him for valuable prospects — especially since he’s their most valuable potential trade chip. That the Mets are faced with this choice isn’t exactly breaking news, but it’s notable when an agent and his client directly lay it out in those terms.
While the Mets don’t matter in terms of the current standings, what path they take before July 31 will have major impact on the future of the organization. Perhaps there’s no bigger decision than how to handle deGrom’s future as a Met.