Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets and Jacob deGrom's reps at CAA have met just once this offseason to talk about a contract extension, but those discussions remain a priority for both player and team, according to major league sources.
Our reported estimate is that deGrom, 30, would make approximately $14-16 million in arbitration in 2019, and would command between $130-$145 million for a five-year extension.
The salary arbitration process can be arcane and confusing, so here is an explainer for how this could actually proceed:
Week of Jan. 7
Next week, the team and agency must exchange salary arbitration figures. It is the team's responsibility to do so first. CAA, and deGrom's lead agent there, Jeff Berry, have not received an offer from the Mets on a short or long-term deal. Sometimes, the team will make an offer on Monday of the deadline week, sometimes it will wait until later, like Wednesday or Thursday.
The sides have until Jan. 11 to agree to a one-year deal, or they will go to salary arbitration. The Mets, like just about every team now, are "file and trial," meaning they go straight to arbitration if they don't agree by the deadline. Many agents consider this a scare tactic, designed to coax players into accepting the team's number in order to avoid the risk of a hearing.
Nevertheless, this has become the industry trend. But, in a loophole, most teams will agree to multi-year extension talks before a hearing.
Jan. 28 - Feb.15
These are the key dates to watch for a deGrom extension. According to major league sources, this is the window when arbitration hearings will take place this year. This means the Mets and deGrom will have 17 days between the Jan. 11 deadline and the first day of hearings to work out an extension. If the will is truly there, this is more than enough time for contract talks.
Any time in the future
If the Mets and deGrom do not agree to an extension before an arbitration hearing, nothing would prevent them from negotiating at any time, and agreeing to an extension that would supersede their one-year agreement. But that would carry risks for both sides.
First, an arbitration hearing can cause resentment, and alter the feelings between player and team. A player can always get hurt.
And perhaps as deGrom draws closer to free agency, he will continue to excel and want to test the market. The ace has not yet set a deadline for negotiations, but CAA, led then by Brodie Van Wagenen, did just that for Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals in a similar situation in 2012. A spring training deadline for contract talks is in the agency's playbook, at least.
There is no indication this situation will come to that. But the next several weeks will be fascinating to watch.