Jacob deGrom is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. Despite playing for the horribly generally and personnel managed New York Mets, deGrom has been a winner pretty much since he emerged onto the baseball scene in 2014, with only one sub 500 year (7-8). He pretty much relies on a fastball and guts.
deGrom initially wasn’t considered part of the vaulted Mets Generation K, 2.0. That was the Dark Knight Fat Harvey, the acquired for Carlos Beltran Zack Wheeler, the acquired for Cy Young award winner knuckleballer R.A Dickey Noah Syndergaard, and the lefty in the pipeline Steven Matz.
Since then Matz has been hurt every 15 minutes, Syndergaard took the Thor name too seriously and messed up his body, Harvey was banished for being a mess, Wheeler Tommy Johned it up, and deGrom has hands down been the best of the bunch. The dude struck out an all star inning on 10 pitches. He won a Cy Young award with just above a 500 record. He had a season that, if on a good team, he may have won 35 games.
So clearly, as he approaches his big payday, it’s time to make Jacob deGrom super rich. Rich enough to not do those shitty TV commercials selling cars with his bad acting. And that conversation is the Jacob DeGrom dilemma.
Jacob deGrom is almost 31 years old. He has 5 professional season on his resume, so it’s not exactly like he’s overthrown and will have his arm fall off. But he also has two years of arbitration left. Also, He’ll make $17 million for the 2019 season. Assuming arbitration will give him the same or more, deGrom will have made at least $63 million dollars before he hits free agency. Considering the MLBPA pension plan, it’s safe to say that Jacob deGrom will never be poor.
And that’s something Mets fans have to consider. I like deGrom. He has heart. But he’ll be a 33 year old unrestricted free agent. What type of deal are you willing to give a 33 year old pitcher?
My opinion for a deal? 5 years, $110 million, and front loaded so that by year 3 he’s taken home $85 million, and after year 4 $102 million. Here’s the breakdown:
Year 1: $30 million
Year 2: $28 milion
Year 3: $27 million
Year 4: $17 million
Year 5: $8 million
Why the scale? Easy. Tradeabilty. I expect deGrom to be good until about age 35/36. You’re paying him to be good. There’s a strong chance that the Mets will not be good in 3-5 years, but I’ll discuss that later.
The final two years of that deal has terms that are more team friendly, meaning you can trade him. If he wants more security you can add on team options, but this is the extent I’d be willing to go.
Because I wholeheartedly believe that the Mets will suck for the foreseeable future. They’re majority owned by the Wilpons, who are absolute assholes. Here’s an example of said assholery.
When asked if the Mets will be in play for Bryce Harper, one of the Wilpons – I don’t care which one because they’re both fucktards- said “How many teams carry two $30 million players?”
- A divisional rival, the Washington Nationals
- Your own team carries ZERO $30 million players
- At a $20 million standard, your same city rivals have 50% more guys at that price point
- Your same league rivals the Chicago Cubs have 100% more $20 million players than the Mets
- How many excuses do you have for being not good at baseball?
So we have deGrom looking at a team hoping their minor leagues becaue the owners have already declared that despite reaping insurance policy returns on David Wright and Yoennis Cespedes, they will not reinvest in the team. Also, this is an organization who hasn’t produced any worthwhile infielders players since David Wright and Jose Reyes and hasn’t produced a worthwhile outfielder since Darryl Strawberry. They will not fortify their lineup. The Mets owners came out and said “we can sign two major young free agents and still have a payroll lower than the Red Sox and Cubs but we chose not to, so FUCK YOU, FANS!”
We also have deGrom looking at a rotation that will be vastly different shortly. Expect a Syndergaard trade. It almost happened this winter. It will happen as he approaches a payday. Or maybe deGrom gets traded and the Mets keep Thor. Either way, these guys will not be long term teammates.
Wheeler? Traded by the Mets already for a former Met, to have the deal rescinded because the talent they acquired wasn’t healthy. Matz? Will never be healthy as a Met, despite having a sandwich named after him at the Seaport Deli in Port Jefferson. Harvey? Bust. The Mets could have acquired Gio Gonzalez this winter but instead felt that Jason Vargas was the better option. He isn’t.
So deGrom is largely an island out at sea, a winner surrounded by losers. Which brings us the the dilemma: what to do with Jason deGrom?
Do the Mets pay him? For what? They’re not going to win with him, because they don’t presently win with him.
Do the Mets trade him? For what? When you trade a star, you almost never get equal value. You usually get a handful of prospects.
Do the Mets ride his stardom out for three more seasons? I don’t think deGrom will do that.
What makes this interesting that deGrom’s former agent is the Mets GM. I can assure you in advance that such an idea will go down about as well as making a backup goalie your GM. But as deGrom’s agent, Brodie Van Douchery probably had ideas about what his client should earn. Think at least $30 million. As an employee of the Wilpons, he knows all he can offer is $34 and some subway tokens, maybe a few hot dogs from the walkabout vendors.
If Brodie is a friend to deGrom- and agents should be, because agents do intake interviews to get to know their clients, the clients families, the clients needs, et cetera- he will trade deGrom to a winner.
If the Yankees sign Manny Machado, deGrom the the Yankees for Gleyber Torres plus seems a logical move. Do a Met thing and add Todd Frazier to the deal to unload salary in the process.
Personally, if I’m the Mets GM I make that deal where Frasier and Syndergaard go to the Yankees for Torres and their top OF and P prospect, then you add Gio Gonzalez to fill out the rotation. But I’d have to work for the Wilpons, and that would mean I’d be forced to take a turn on the mound every 5th day to reinforce the fact that our payroll is above average, but not intergalactic. Not even league leading.
So in short, do you sign a 31 year old to a 7 year extension paying him $200 million, maybe more? No, no you don’t. What you do is trade a Cy Young award winner for players and prospects. The last time the Mets did that they got Noah Syndergaard and Travis deArnold. Shockingly, deArnold was the key to the deal. deGrom is a little younger, so expect a slightly better haul. A position player, an OF prospect, and a pitching prospect.
If the Mets had a winning mentality, deGrom would be locked up already. They’d have signed Machado. They would have traded Amed Rosario for Realmuto. They would have traded Frasier and put Jeff O’Neil at 3rd. They would have traded Vargas for spare parts and signed Gonzalez. But these are the Mets. Big league enough to be in New York, small enough in New York to be Buffalo.
It’s an embarrassing organization and as I mentioned previously will most likely never produce another hall of famer. Mike Piazza was inducted as being tied to the Mets, but he wasn’t drafted or developed as a Met, which is why he was good. Not since Tom fucking Seaver was a Met a hall of famer. 50 years. One hall of famer. Fuck you, Wilpons.
If I was Jacob deGrom, I’d hope for a trade to a winner. If not, I’d take my free agent ass to Boston, Chicago, or across the Cross Bronx. Because the Mets suck, and will continue to suck. 80% of the last decade sub 500 can’t be wrong.