Is it time to lock up DeGrom and Syndergaard?

degrom and thorWhile Sandy Alderson and the rest of the Mets front office are busy trying to dump spare part Jay Bruce and fill out the bullpen, there’s another important move they need to consider – securing the services of some of their young starting pitchers. While all of the big five are currently under control, so to speak, it would be foolish to let them all play through their rookie contracts and arbitration years on the way to free agency. In that scenario we’d have two more seasons of Matt Harvey, three of Zack Wheeler, four of Jacob deGrom, five of Noah Syndergaard, and six of Steven Matz, followed by successive off-seasons of draft pick compensation. There’s a better way.

Following the 2014 season and their first year of arbitration, Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner, now widely considered two of the best starting pitchers in baseball, signed five-year contracts that bought out their remaining arbitration years, plus a few years of free agency. Now these bonafide aces are locked up at reasonable rates through 2019. Sale’s contract is for five years, $32.5 million with escalating contracts of $6-$9.15- $12-$12.5-$15 million. He is now entering the third year of what now has to be considered a team-friendly contract. No wonder the Red Sox were willing to part with two of the best prospects in baseball for him. Bumgarner signed a similar deal at the same time for five years, $35 million, plus a prorated signing bonus of $1 million. This breaks down as $7-$10-$11.7-$12-$12 million.  That’s right, arguably the greatest post season pitcher in history will make just $11.7 million this year.

It might be a year premature for this talk as only Matt Harvey has reached the same point (between first and second arbitration years) that Sale and Bumgarner reached. And given that Harvey’s agent is Scott Boras, it’s not likely he’d be amenable to such a deal. Boras is inevitably going to push Harvey to play out the next two seasons and secure the biggest free agent contract he can land. But what’s the harm in putting an offer out there? It would set the tone for next season when we’ll need to make this offer to deGrom and possibly Syndergaard. It’s a few years later now, so these particular numbers might not get it done, but even tack on 20 percent and we could still come up with a similar five-year deal (5/$42mm) that might not be enough to entice Harvey, but could eventually get it done for deGrom and Syndergaard. Now, it’s definitely too premature to think about Wheeler, who still has to prove he can stay healthy and Matz who is still three seasons away from hitting arbitration. However, it’s time to start planning for the other three.

deGrom is an interesting case because he has super two status – this means he’s eligible for arbitration now, a year ahead of schedule, and will qualify for four years of arbitration. If he keeps pitching the way he has, those last two years of arbitration could get very expensive. By all accounts, deGrom and Syndergaard love being here and their teammates, the organization, and fans all love having them here. Another thing to consider is that these two share the same agency – CAA Sports. Let’s talk about how we can lock them up and keep them in orange and blue for the foreseeable future.

16 comments for “Is it time to lock up DeGrom and Syndergaard?

  1. Jerryk
    December 9, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Matt Harvey? zach Wheeler? Pitchers break down…

  2. December 9, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I’m surprised that they haven’t locked up one of these guys yet. If JDG proves healthy during the year, my guess is he’ll be the one.

  3. Jimmy P
    December 9, 2016 at 9:45 am

    This feels at least half a year away, but we’re getting closer.

    I’ve long felt that the Mets can sign only two of these guys, and will have to deal with the rest in other ways (trade, hopefully).

    I think deGrom seems like the “easiest” (in quotes) to sign at a reasonable rate. His age, his injury history. If he shows good health in the Spring, I’d initiate that dialogue.

    Noah is the guy you want to keep, but holy cow, it’s going to be crazy expensive. I think there’s time to wait on him, a couple of years.

    Matz seems brittle. An outstanding talent, but I’d consider flipping him in the right deal, but only after he puts a solid season under his belt. I would not sell low with any of these guys.

    The injuries have really messed with the Matt Harvey timetable. But for a guy who once looked assured of a massive contract, he’s now just as likely to miss out on it altogether. Like deGrom, he might be more open to the security of a deal than I ever expected him to be.

    If I pick two to keep, it’s Jacob & Noah.

    But things change.

    For the next year, I think Jacob is the only guy they could possibly sign. Big risk in guaranteeing big money to any pitcher in today’s game. So fragile. In a minute, a guy walks off the mound clutching his elbow . . .

  4. Chris F
    December 9, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I start the talk with Noah and Jake. But its too early. Noah is a Met now for the next 5 years, with Jake for the next 4. Both are managed by CAA, which is a plus for the Mets.

  5. MattyMets
    December 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Looks like I’m not the only one thinking about this today. https://www.sny.tv/mets/news
    I posed it as a question on Matthew Cerrone’s podcast the other day and he didn’t respond, until now.

    • Chris F
      December 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      So what do you propose Matt?

      Degrom will enter FA at age 32. Why extend him?

      Noah is still 2 yrs from arbitration.

      What is the immediate rush?

      • Jimmy P
        December 9, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        I agree that there’s no rush.

  6. BK
    December 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Syndergaard and de Grom are the ones to focus on. At least make the offer. Maybe Matz if he can stay healthy too.

  7. Metsense
    December 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Normally the the Mets should offer an extension to deGrom and Harvey but their injuries that shortened their seasons should forestall it until they show they are !00% heathy. Syndergaard, Matz, or Wheeler should not be be considered until they reach arbitration. Pitchers are brittle.
    If a player were to refuse a fair extension offer then the Mets should look to move him in his arbitration years. It may seem like a hard line approach but I doesn’t make sense to lose a star player to free agency for a compensation draft choice.

  8. Eraff
    December 9, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I always root for guys like deGrom to “say”, “I’m not Pitching without a deal–F You and your MLB Agreement!!!”

    • Chris F
      December 10, 2016 at 7:51 am

      What does that mean? Are you recommending degrom says FU to the contract he signed?

      • Eraff
        December 13, 2016 at 12:50 am

        yes

  9. Name
    December 12, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    It makes the least sense from deGrom’s Pov to sign anything that will burn his FA years.

    He will be poised to hit the market at his age 33 season.
    Absolute best case is probably to get a 5 year deal, since Greinke got 6 years hitting FA at age 32. But that’s assuming everything goes right. More than likely he’ll be shooting for 4 and would settle for 3. Worst case he can get 2 years, as Volquez had a horrific season and still got 2/22.

    Take a year away and him hitting the market at 34? Worst case is still probably 2 years, but 4 years would be even more of a reach.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t matter that much to Syndergaard. He’ll be hitting FA at age 29 assuming he doesn’t sign, but the market doesn’t really discriminate that much if you hit FA at 29 vs 31 as he’s likely to get 6+ years in either case

    • Metsense
      December 12, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Name you forgot one important thing, deGrom has only made $1.1M in his career. If he gets hurt then he will lose all future earnings. He is looking for security. In order to lock up that security he should have to give the Mets at least a two year extension.From deGrom’s POV what would be be better, “some” guaranteed millions now or the hope for a big payday in four years? He seems to be leaning toward the guaranteed money that would set him up for the rest of his life with no risk. Wouldn’t you make the same choice if you were in his shoes? I would.
      If I were the Mets though, I would wait on an extension until he proved himself healthy.

      • Name
        December 13, 2016 at 1:14 am

        You are mistaken. He has guaranteed money. Fans don’t view arbitration as guaranteed, but barring some low probability career threatening injury or sudden ineffectiveness (and if you’re expecting one of those to happen, then talking about an extension is a moot point to begin with), deGrom will be making a ton of money through arbitration.

        A conservative estimation of what he’ll make over his 4 years is probably 4 mil, 7mil,10 mil,13 mil. That’s 34 million total. A better guess might be 4.5, 8, 12, 16 for a 40 mil total.

        A 2 year extension, that’ll extend him to hitting FA at age 35, which means no big contract for him (assuming no idiot GMs like the Dodgers), which means the Mets would probably have to guarantee him money thru the roof (25+ mil annually) in order for him to forgo that opportunity. But then that would make no sense for the Mets because the point of signing a long term deal is to make it team friendly.

        Also, the above arbitration projections show it doesn’t really make that much of a difference to buy out those years. My conservative case versus projected case yielded only a 6 mil difference over 4 years, which is hardly nothing.
        deGrom probably isn’t going to jump at the opportunity of getting an extra 4-5 mil in the first few years to give up the opportunity of making 20+ mil per season when he hits FA.

        • Name
          December 13, 2016 at 1:32 am

          Edit: Actually i can understand the point of view you provided. Some players are very risk averse and get antsy about their future or have short term liquidity needs (or don’t fully understand the intricacies of the system) and thus are willing to sacrifice a lot in order to mitigate the risk/get something upfront. I shouldn’t assume that ballplayers have the same risk tolerance that I do.

          But if i were him or his agent, i wouldn’t sign away any FA years.

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