PORTST. LUCIE, Fla. – If the Mets decide to negotiate a new contract with Jacob deGrom, that will most likely happen after the season.
Team owner Steve Cohen said Sunday that he won’t try to sign deGrom to a new contract until “the right time,” indicating that time is not right now. deGrom can opt out of his current five-year, $137.5 million deal in November.
“We’ll let the season start and then we’ll deal with it, and Jake will do what he does,” Cohen said. “We’re thrilled with Jake, and at some point we’ll figure that out.”
Before the start of last season, it seemed inevitable that deGrom would opt out of his contract, given his three consecutive stellar seasons, including a pair of NL Cy Young Awards. He also seemed confident that the Mets would try to avoid that by extending deGrom’s deal. Now, for the Mets, extending deGrom would mean taking much of the risk of gambling on the pitcher’s health without seeing how he responds after resting this offseason.
On that note, deGrom reported to Mets camp Saturday and threw some balls with bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello. According to manager Buck Showalter, deGrom started pitching before arriving in Port St. Lucie. General manager Billy Eppler added that he “has no reason” to be concerned about deGrom’s health.
“The trainers haven’t told me anything, so as far as I know, everything is normal,” Eppler said. “He goes out there and works normally. They haven’t told me anything different.”
deGrom’s ability to be healthy in 2022 will have significant financial implications. If he doesn’t opt out of his current contract, the Mets will have to pay him $68 million over the next two seasons, with a $32.5 million team option for 2024. If he decides to walk out, the parties will have to negotiate a new deal so he can meet his goal to play with the Mets his entire career. The Dodgers retained Clayton Kershaw on similar terms after the 2018 season and the Nationals re-signed Stephen Strasburg after he opted out of his contract in 2019.
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NY would wait to negotiate with deGrom