Mets ace Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher on the planet right now. Few would dispute this. The Mets are riding high in first place and have a post-Wilpon owner that has shown willingness to spend big money on franchise players. With deGrom having an opt-out clause following the 2022 season, might the Mets simply throw a bunch of money at him and extend him to "Met for life" territory?
The answer, at least at this point, is no.
Mets owner Steve Cohen was asked about the possibility of renegotiating deGrom's contract on Sunday and said "I don't think it's the right moment."
Steve Cohen on renegotiating deGrom's contract, which has an opt-out after 2022:— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 20, 2021
"I don't think it's the right moment. We're focused on this year. Obviously, it's something we're thinking about. Listen, we love Jacob. ... I don't think I could pitch to a 0.54 ERA. He's special."
DeGrom's deal pays him $35.5 million next season. Then there's an opt out. If he decides to stick with the deal, it would pay him $32.5 million in 2023 and then there's a club option for $32.5 million in 2024.
DeGrom, who turned 33 on Saturday, is 31-21 with a 1.91 ERA (208 ERA+), 0.89 WHIP and 739 strikeouts in 556 innings since the beginning of 2018. He's won two Cy Young Awards, finished third last season and would probably win it this year if voting were held right now. There's little debating how good he is.
And yet, it makes sense for the Mets to stand pat right now, just as it makes sense for deGrom to not sign an extension unless it's gigantic. DeGrom will never have more leverage than he does right now. Trevor Bauer is making $40 million this season and $45 million next, so deGrom's camp would surely shoot to beat that average annual value if there were renegotiations.
Plus, deGrom has left consecutive starts with injuries and he's getting up into his mid-30s. From ownership perspective, why sign him to something like a five-year, $225 million extension if the possibility of injuries and/or age catching up with him in the next two years exists. From deGrom's perspective, why talk about an extension unless the Mets are prepared to knock him over with a deal? The open market for him would explode.
This season, deGrom is 6-2 with a 0.54 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 111 strikeouts against eight walks in 67 innings. The Mets entered Sunday in first place in the NL East at 36-28, good for a four-game lead.