In the midst of gushing over Jacob deGrom's "unheard of" Cy Young season, John Franco echoed something that's on the minds of many Mets fans these days:
"Hopefully," Franco said, "they work something out to keep Jake around a long time."
And Franco, who spoke Thursday evening before attending the 16th annual New York City gala to benefit Joe Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, believes it's only a matter of time before deGrom and the Mets agree on a contract extension that will keep deGrom in Queens.
"I'm sure that'll happen," said the former ace reliever, who is now a club ambassador. "I'm sure they'll figure something out along the way.
"He's the ace of the staff and it's good to build the team around him. Him and Noah (Syndergaard) and (Zack) Wheeler -- he really pitched well -- and (Steven) Matz. That's a good core four guys to have. And then hopefully strengthen up the bullpen, couple guys, pieces here and there."
It all starts with deGrom, though. The righty was 10-9 and led the majors with a 1.70 ERA. He gave up as many as four runs just once all year and had 29 consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer. He held opponents to a .521 OPS and only allowed 0.41 homers per nine innings, both best in baseball.
"Every game, he just dominated," Franco said. "I look at it as an old pitcher, how he dominated the hitters."
With David Wright gone, Franco suggested deGrom as next in line to be the face of the Mets. If not deGrom, Franco said Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo could seize the role.
"One of the three won't be a bad choice," Franco added.
The Mets will look to add players to their core during the Hot Stove season. That's new GM Brodie Van Wagenen's responsibility.
"I'm sure Brodie's already working on it and go to spring training and things will be a little different," Franco said.
Asked if he feels like the Mets are going in the right direction having hired Van Wagenen, Franco seemed optimistic.
"We'll see. I think it's a different type of move," Franco said. "But it seems like he's very enthused, like he's baseball savvy. He knows the players, knows the deal and how to negotiate. Hopefully, he can persuade some players to come here and sign and persuade ownership and keep the current players happy."