Jacob deGrom has no plans of calling it quits anytime soon. In fact, the 32-year-old New York Mets ace envisions potentially playing upward of another decade in an already Hall of Fame-caliber career.
While his résumé certainly makes him a likely Cooperstown honoree once his playing days are over, deGrom also has larger aspirations surrounding his eventual enshrinement, as he told Jeff Passan of ESPN this week while sharing his goal of pitching into his 40s.
“I want to pitch into my 40s,” deGrom said. “… I believe I can still compete at this level at that age. To become an inner-circle Hall of Famer, I’m gonna have to play that long.”
The pitcher’s continued dominance elicited amazement during spring training out of Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who said that the ace is “aging like fine wine.” The praise followed deGrom reaching 101 mph on the ballpark’s radar gun several times during a Grapefruit League start last month.
DeGrom believes he can maintain that powerful style of pitching for several more years.
“I think I’ll be able to pull off being a power guy that long,” deGrom said of his goal of pitching into his 40s. “I can play this game for quite a while longer at a high level. It goes back to how I approach it. Making adjustments throughout my career to get where I am now. Knowing I’m a little bit off and fixing it. Learning my mechanics. Always working on them. I’m trying to perfect my delivery. Really studying the game to get hitters out.”
The Mets ace is in the midst of the third year of a five-year contract, but an opt-out option is available for deGrom following the 2022 season. With his long-term future with the team somewhat in doubt, deGrom opened up during spring training about how he sees his career potentially playing out.
DeGrom envisions a scenario where he remains with the team for his entire MLB career. If that’s the case — and deGrom makes good on his goal of pitching into his 40s — Mets fans will get to enjoy watching the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner for years to come.