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A forearm and elbow issue ended Jacob deGrom's season after only 15 starts last year, but the New York Mets ace is "perfectly fine" now, and he intends to opt out of his contract after the season. DeGrom made those statements while speaking to reporters, including Newsday's Tim Healey and's Anthony DiComo, on Monday.

"I have been told my UCL is perfectly fine," deGrom said, referring to his ulnar collateral ligament, the Tommy John ligament. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010, and last year's injuries were of the variety that indicated ligament trouble. That is apparently not the case, however, and deGrom threw a bullpen session Monday.

DeGrom will earn $33.5 million this season and can opt out of his $30.5 million salary in 2023. He was a post-lockout extension candidate, though deGrom said he intends to wait until after the season to discuss a new contract. "I love being a Met, it would be really cool to be one for my entire career," he said Monday (video link).

The Mets gave Max Scherzer a record three-year, $130 million contract prior to the lockout and that is an obvious contract target for deGrom and his representatives. He will turn 34 in June and Scherzer signed his contract heading into his age-37 season. With a full and healthy season, deGrom could even push for Scherzer dollars across 4-5 years.

Of course, Mets owner Steve Cohen has the deepest pockets in the sport, so much so that the other 29 owners created a fourth Competitive Balance Tax tier in the new collective bargaining agreement to try to rein in his spending. It's unlikely to work -- Cohen said the Mets will "probably" exceed the new threshold in 2022 -- and it's hard to see him pinching pennies with deGrom.

"We're going to play the season and then we'll figure that out, and Jake will do what he does," Cohen told deGrom over the weekend. "We love Jake, and we'll figure it out at some point."  

Prior to the injury last season deGrom was his typically brilliant self, throwing 92 innings with 46 strikeouts and a 1.08 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .129/.160/.242 batting line.