The Mets engaged in preliminary extension talks with ace Jacob deGrom during Spring Training, reports Andy Martino of SNY. Discussions did not get very far and are not expected to continue during the regular season, Martino adds.
With talks now on hold, it certainly doesn’t appear as if another long-term deal between deGrom and the Mets is coming in the near future. There’s not a whole lot of urgency, though.
The two-time Cy Young award winner previously signed an extension in March 2019. That deal could keep deGrom in Queens through 2024 but affords him the opportunity to opt-out after the 2022 season. The 32-year-old is slated for successive salaries of $36M in each of the next two years, with some of that money deferred. If deGrom doesn’t opt out two years from now, he’d make $30.5M in 2023, while the Mets would have to decide on a 2024 club option valued at $32.5M.
While it’s certainly possible the Mets and deGrom revisit extension talks next winter, the financial picture for the organization has changed significantly in recent days. On Wednesday night, the Mets agreed to a ten-year, $341M extension with shortstop Francisco Lindor that covers the 2022-31 seasons. That pushed the Mets’ 2022 payroll commitments over $127M in the estimation of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
More meaningfully in the context of a potential deGrom extension, New York already has in excess of $100M on the books for 2023. That takes the form of salaries for Lindor ($34.5M), deGrom ($30.5M), Robinson Canó ($20.25M), James McCann ($12.125M) and Taijuan Walker ($6M player option), as well as a $3M buyout on Carlos Carrasco’s $14M club option. deGrom opting out after 2022 would remove his salary from that ledger but would obviously require the Mets to make another significant investment if they want to keep him in the fold.
The Mets have a few more pressing decisions to make in the coming months. Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman are all scheduled for free agency after this season. New York discussed an extension with Conforto during Spring Training. Those talks could continue into the regular season but it seems there’s still quite the gap to close if they’re to keep the productive outfielder off the open market.
Steve Cohen is the game’s wealthiest owner and has already pushed the Mets’ player payroll well above the previous ownership group’s limit. It remains to be seen how much further Cohen is willing to go and how team president Sandy Alderson chooses to allocate those resources to try to build a perennial contender around Lindor.