The Mets discussed a potential long-term extension with RHP Jacob deGrom before agreeing one a one-year, $7.4 million deal to avoid arbitration, GM Sandy Alderson told the team's beat writers on Tuesday during a luncheon.
The 29-year-old deGrom had a 3.53 ERA (3.50 FIP) and 1.19 WHIP with a career-high 239 strikeouts in a career-high 201.1 innings in 2017.
He is eligible for arbitation again in 2019 and 2020, after which he is eligible for free agency.
DeGrom recently said his main personal goal for 2018 is to win the Cy Young award.
"That's the main goal," deGrom told John Harper of the NY Daily News. "You set the bar high and go after it. That's what I'm striving for."
MLB executives recently told me he should be offered a four-year, $50-60 million deal, with two option years each worth $16-17 million.
In return for one year of free agency and the option to be retained in 2022 and 2023 for less than he'd likely make on the open market, by accepting, deGrom would have guaranteed himself significant money during his final three seasons of arbitration without worrying he might blow it with an injury or poor performance.
I'm sure the Mets considered the above, but it would likely have meant paying him more than the $7.4 million he agreed to accept before going to arbitration. I suppose they could have kept the same salary for 2018, but -- to get deGrom to accept a long-term deal -- it almost certainly would have meant needing to pay him close to $20 million or more in his final season.