Despite a stress reaction in his shoulder that will sideline him at least four weeks, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom still intends to opt out of his contract following the 2022 season, he told reporters this weekend. . His contract also includes a $32.5 million club option for 2024.
"Once this gets behind me, I should be good to go. Body-wise, I felt great, and then this popped up. Once we get this behind us, I'll be good to go," deGrom told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo on Saturday. "... I felt like I put myself in a good position strength-wise this offseason. I think what's the most frustrating part is how good I felt throwing this spring, and then for this to pop up out of nowhere."
Jacob deGrom says he is still definitely going to opt out of his contract at season's end, despite this most recent injury and the time he'll miss because of it.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 3, 2022
Prior to the injury deGrom made two spring starts and was electric, striking out 10 in five innings and showing his usual velocity. He reported tightness in his shoulder after long-tossing last Thursday, and an MRI revealed the stress reaction last Friday. DeGrom will be reevaluated in four weeks, then he'll need time to build back up into game-readiness.
Opting out of the final year on the contract may sound silly now following the shoulder injury, but there's two things to keep in mind. First, deGrom can always change his mind. I'm sure the pundits on social media will mock him for going back on what he said in spring training, but who cares? He'll make $30.5 million next year and they won't.
And second, how deGrom finishes the season will matter more than how he starts. In 2019, Stephen Strasburg had a good but not truly great 3.72 ERA as late as Aug. 3, and it seemed unlikely he would opt out of the four years and $100 million remaining on his contract. A dominant postseason run and a World Series MVP later, he opted out and signed a seven-year, $245 million contract.
Former Marlins president David Samson discussed the latest for deGrom on Monday's Nothing Personal with David Samson podcast. Listen below:
The Nationals signed 37-year-old Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract this offseason. The $43.3 million average annual salary is far and away the highest in history (Gerrit Cole is a distant second at $36 million). It stands to reason deGrom, who will turn 34 in June, will seek an annual salary on par with Scherzer over 4-6 years as long as he finishes 2022 healthy.
DeGrom was limited to 15 starts by back and forearm trouble last season. They were 15 out-of-this-world starts: 1.08 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 92 innings. He held opponents to a .120/.160/.242 batting line.