Ace Right-Hander Can Opt Out And Become Free Agent After 2022 Season, New York Has Team Option For $32.5 Million In 2024


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It appears the Mets have finally done right by their best player.

According to various reports, the team and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom have agreed to a $137.5 million, five-year contract. The deal guarantees an additional $120.5 million over four seasons.

DeGrom was reportedly in New York on Tuesday taking a physical. Assuming all goes well, the Mets are expected to officially announce the extension on Wednesday.

The news came just two days after teammate Noah Syndergaard criticized the Mets for their treatment of deGrom.


 

“I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now,” Syndergaard said. “I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I think they should just quit all this fuss and pay the man already.”

Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets pitches against the San Francisco Giants during their game at Citi Field on Aug. 23, 2018, in New York City. (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York and deGrom had agreed in January to a $17 million, one-year deal, and he was on track to be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.

His new deal calls for a $10 million signing bonus, a $7 million salary this season, $23 million in 2020, $33.5 million each in 2021 and 2022 and $30.5 million in 2023. The Mets have a $32.5 million option for 2024.

DeGrom has the right to opt out of the contract after the 2022 season and become a free agent.

The Mets got the deal done just before the deadline deGrom had issued earlier in the offseason. He had made it clear he would not negotiate during the regular season. New York opens the season Thursday at Washington.

Back in February, new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who was deGrom’s agent before joining the club’s front office in November, told reporters there was “no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season.”

A right-hander who turns 31 in June, deGrom had a 1.70 ERA last year yet went just 10-9. He allowed three runs or fewer in 29 consecutive starts to close the season, but the Mets were 11-18 in those games. Over the last 50 years, only five pitchers have posted a lower ERA — Zack Greinke (1.66 in 2015), Greg Maddux (1.63 in 1995 and 1.56 in 1994), Dwight Gooden (1.53 in 1985), Nolan Ryan (1.69 in 1981) and Bob Gibson (1.12 in 1968).

The Mets, who finished 23rd in the majors with 676 runs scored in 2018, went 14-18 in deGrom’s starts, but he posted a 2.13 ERA in the games the team lost, the lowest number since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Mets scored two runs or less in 12 of deGrom’s starts. Though he went 0-7 in those outings, he posted a stellar 1.87 ERA. His consistency proved to be remarkable. In games the Mets scored three to five runs, he went 5-2 with a microscopic 1.24 ERA.

He allowed more than three earned runs in a game just once. So, if the Mets had averaged four runs per game in deGrom’s starts — there were two in which he didn’t pitch the mandatory five innings to be eligible for the win — he would have finished the 2018 season 29-0.

DeGrom joined Pedro Martinez as the only other pitcher since earned runs became an official stat with an ERA less than 2.00, at least 250 strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks in a season.

Overall, deGrom is 55-41 with a 2.67 ERA in five big league seasons.

Coming off a 77-85 season, the Mets made a bunch of changes during the offseason, including trading for star second baseman Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, and signing stud catcher Wilson Ramos. Still, starting pitching is expected to be their strength.

And now they have their ace locked up for a long time.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)