Heartbreaking news struck Mets fans this past week. Ace of the staff Jacob DeGrom cut his long locks of hair, which were a signature style for the right-hander. DeGrom is coming off of a stellar season, where he went 15-10 with a second-best in the league 239 strikeouts. Certainly, if you were Sandy Alderson you would want to extend this man immediately.
DeGrom was the only stable pitcher on the entire rotation. Although the common thought was that the Mets would have an elite rotation, it turned out to be quite the opposite. The rotation became decimated with injury after injury, and the devastation took a tool on a team that was counting on their rotation to lead them back to the playoffs. DeGrom pitched a total of 201.1 innings, which is the first time in his career that he eclipsed the 200 mark. He was the only pitcher to eclipse 120 innings pitched for the Mets.
That is an extremely concerning number, considering most of the rotation will be returning for the 2018 season. It would be grave for the Mets to not keep Jacob deGrom around long-term. If deGrom was not on the team, the leading innings eater would have been Robert Gsellman, who was unspectacular at best in 2017. DeGrom, who will enter this winter eligible for his second year of arbitration, will surely have a lot to bring to the negotiating table should he and the Mets decide to enter long-term talks.
For 2016, deGrom’s salary was $4.05 million. That is a little less than what Colorado’s Tyler Chatwood made this past season. Chatwood was a far less effective pitcher than deGrom, falling behind him in terms of ERA, strikeouts, and win-loss record. If deGrom wants a new contract, who would blame him. Pitchers that are less superior than he is shouldn’t be making more money than he is. The fact that the Mets paid Matt Harvey more money than him last season is ridiculous in its own right.
The only thing that could be stopping the Mets from resigning deGrom long term could be the possibility of a rebuild. The Mets as we all know had a tumultuous 2017, compiling a terrible 70-92 record. They fired pitching coach Dan Warthen and head trainer Ray Ramirez, and moved Terry Collins into the front office. The Mets have a roster that is a mix of veterans and inexperienced players, leading to a lot of uncertainty for the seasons to come. It all hinges upon the starting pitching. If there is a bevy of injuries like last season, we might see the same result as this season. The Mets wouldn’t want to pay max money for a player if they won’t reach postseason success in the near future. Especially since they already have a max contract in the form of Yoenis Céspedes’s 4 year, $110 million deal.
It is safe to say that deGrom is the ace and leader of the Mets pitching staff. He has been there for clutch starts, and was the only form of stability the Mets offered out of their rotation in 2017. Moving forward, it seems the Mets will offer up the same rotation, which is troubling to think about. DeGrom was the only starter to pitch well, and be a consistent starter. The Mets should resign him soon, before he decides he does not want to stay with the team any longer. Degrom has never balked in his major league career. Let’s hope the Mets don’t balk and resign their ace.