As pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, Jacob deGrom will be looking to replicate his dominant Cy Young results of last season. But he will do so without a long-term contract.
DeGrom and the Mets avoided arbitration this offseason on a record-breaking $17 million deal for the 2019 season. It was a sensible gesture to baseball's best starter last season, but it only extended the Mets' time before they offer deGrom an extension.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen knows signing deGrom long-term is something the Mets want to lock down sooner than later.
"Our goal is definitely to have him be a part of this future beyond the two years that he has remaining under his control," Van Wagenen explained on WFAN's Mike's On with Mike Francesa. "He knows we want him to be a part of it. Whether or not we can ultimately agree on something, or whether the timing is now or whether it's down the road, there will be no mistaking the fact that he is a franchise player for us that we hope can be that for years and years to come."
According to SNY's Andy Martino, deGrom's camp has been disappointed in the "lack of progress" on contract talks. And in the past, Van Wagenen -- who represented deGrom before joining the Mets -- has set deadlines for teams when it came to his players looking for extensions (i.e. Ryan Zimmermann back in 2012). DeGrom, though, still has one more year of arbitration before hitting the free agent market in 2021.
Van Wagenen, of course, doesn't want it to get to that point, but the perception of deGrom still not settled under a new deal isn't the best. But, for now, there is no tension between both sides.
"At this point, I don't think there's any drama," Van Wagenen said. "I think that we're communicating, we've had dialogue with his new agents. We've had internal discussions, and again, just reiterates the fact that the player knows how we feel about him and we look forward to him being a part of what we have going forward."
So, as Spring Training gets underway, preparing for the upcoming season will be deGrom's priority as contract talks continue in the background.
"I think that Jacob showed up to camp the same Jacob deGrom he's always been," Van Wagenen said. "We love him he knows it. He's going to get all the attention he deserves inside these walls, and we're going to continue the discussion we've had in the past."