No doubt about signing deGrom by necessity
The Mets had to ink Jacob deGrom to an extension now or risk having tension in the clubhouse.
Some looked at this as a new day for the Mets. Most of Mets fans celebrated this occasion on Twitter, sports radio and blogs. The players on the Mets exalted this move. The Mets ownership and management took bows for doing the only thing they had to do.
The Mets inked Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $137.5 million deal on Tuesday. Now their ace can pitch in the right frame of mind by winning games and leading the Mets to a championship instead of worrying about whether or not he would get paid by the team. Distraction and unrest in the clubhouse does not turn out to be an issue for Mets manager Mickey Callaway managing for his job to start the season.
Tuesday was a good day for a franchise that tends to create bad public relations more often than not. Signing the reigning Cy Young Award winner sets the right tone to start the season, especially with him being the Opening Day starter against the Washington Nationals Cy Young runner-up Max Scherzer on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Both sides received what they wanted out of this deal, but that’s besides the point. Both parties agreeing on a deal mattered more than who came out on top or if both are happy.
It would have been bad optics as ex-Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would say if the Mets could not agree to a deal with deGrom. Yes, the Mets could wait since their ace is under contract for two more years, but what’s the point? They knew him enough to know if he is worthy of a deal. Either they believed he is worth it or he is not.
With the Philadelphia Phillies inking Aaron Nola, New York Yankees signing Luis Severino, small-market Tampa Bay Rays locking up the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, St. Louis Cardinals extending Miles Mikolas, Boston Red Sox rewarding Chris Sale and Houston Astros making sure Justin Verlander was not leaving as a free agent, the Mets knew the gig was up to think about what to do with their best player.
deGrom pitched so well these last few years. There’s no reason for him to prove himself. His Cy Young season should have been the catalyst for being rewarded for his good service over the years. The Mets could not do wrong with him.
It would have sent a bad message to him and the rest of the players on the team if the Mets did not take care of him. Noah Syndergaard knew what he was doing by speaking out on deGrom’s behalf. If the Mets could not pay up for their ace’s service, what would make the Mets players think the team would pay them when they are about to be free agents?
No one can blame the Mets for being hesitant to give long-term deals after it blew up on them when they gave it to David Wright, Johan Santana, Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Beltran. Still, the last thing the Wilpons want is to let their durable effective starter be in limbo and pitching his way out of New York through free agency or trade.
Long-time Mets fans remembered Tom Seaver being dealt in his prime. The new generation of Mets fans expressed no desire of deja vu all over again with deGrom.
The perception of the Mets being a small-market team would grow and alienate their fans. New York should be a place where teams keep their homegrown players for life. Think Derek Jeter with the Yankees or Mariano Rivera with the Yankees.
It was not a request to keep deGrom. It had to be demanded. Now that the Mets got it done, they can hope he pitches well enough for the duration of his contract and maybe pitch until he is in his 40s, so that one day they can retire his number at Citi Field. No question this dream to turn into a reality motivated the Mets to get it done.
deGrom mentioned he wants to retire as a Met. He will get that opportunity now, and it would be a big deal for the Mets and him to fulfill this vision.
The Wilpons certainly want to have a player of their own to have his day once his career is over. They haven’t had much stars to celebrate outside of Mike Piazza, and the Mets catcher was only acquired with the late Nelson Doubleday’s blessing. This is a chance for them to say they retired their homegrown player.
With deGrom’s contract situation over, baseball can be the story for everyone involved. The Mets star will continue to focus on being the best Mets pitcher ever. The team’s pursuit for a much-needed championship commences with him anchoring the starting rotation. No need for the Wilpons to answer another public relations blunder.
Everyone benefits from deGrom staying. There are no losers in this. Even if he becomes a disappointment, no reason to have buyer’s remorse from the Mets’ side.
All that’s left for both sides now is a championship.
Both parties can concentrate on that type of a headache than a contract headache.