Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen weighed in Tuesday on Jacob deGrom setting an Opening Day deadline on contract extension talks, saying that the team and deGrom's camp came to a "mutual understanding" about the negotiation.
"The last thing either side wants to do is have it be a distraction once the season starts," Van Wagenen said from Port St. Lucie during a scrum with reporters at Spring Training.
"I think it's for everyone's best interest so that the focus when the season starts is on the performance of the team," Van Wagenen added.
While deGrom's camp is putting pressure on the Mets to get something done, Van Wagenen said he is no less optimistic now about a deal getting done than he was earlier this offseason -- saying the decision to set a deadline was "organic."
"This was a mutual understanding that both sides would have dialogue and see where it leads," Van Wagenen explained.
Van Wagenen had said Monday during an appearance with Mike Francesa on WFAN that there wasn't any tension between the Mets and deGrom, and he noted Tuesday that it would be up to him to make sure things stay that way.
"From my standpoint, Jacob -- we care about him and he knows we care about him," Van Wagenen said. "He knows how important he is to the organization and it will be my job to make sure there is no strained relationship no matter what takes place."
When it comes to the negotiations with deGrom, Van Wagenen will be directly involved. That wasn't the case with deGrom or Noah Syndergaard's arbitration situations, which Van Wagenen recused himself from due to having been their agent before taking the GM job.
"For a decision that's going to impact our short and long-term future as much as Jacob will, then I'll be involved in that process," Van Wagenen said.