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How deGrom’s Contract Situation Could Impact Syndergaard

Yesterday, Jacob deGrom spoke to the media directly for the first time since reports of his frustration surfaced in the media. During his press conference deGrom offered some positive assurances for Mets fans telling us all he loves being a Met, and he wants to stay with the team. He also offered some reasons for concern including the fact he was frustrated and the Mets have yet to make him an offer.

Then, deGrom would drop a bit of a bombshell.

In response to a question about whether he would be willing to have a self imposed innings restriction next year, deGrom responded, “You play this game because you love it and then you have an opportunity to look out for your family and your future, so you have to see what’s right for you to do and I think that’s a discussion that’s going to have to be had with my agents.”

That’s not a yes, but it’s certainly not a no. What it was was a declaration that nothing if off the table in this negotiation, including deGrom consulting with his agents to come up with a plan to protect his arm so he can be as healthy as possible when he heads into free agency after the 2020 season.

When deGrom speaks on this matter there are three very important things to consider. First, deGrom has his own injury history. His career almost never got off the ground because he had Tommy John surgery. He would have to be shut down in a pennant race in 2016 to have ulnar transposition surgery. Just last season, he had a back issue in Spring Training, which cost him his Opening Day start, and he would hyper-extend his elbow on a swing.

Just as much as any other player, deGrom knows how the next injury can happen at any moment, and depending on the severity of the injury, it can have long lasting ramifications.

He saw those ramifications first-hand with Matt Harvey. During the 2015 season, deGrom watched on as Harvey was pressured to ignore his own agent’s advice on innings restrictions. He watched Harvey pitch against the advice of his agents, and he watched on as Harvey would be a shell of himself from 2016 until he was traded for Devin Mesoraco in May of last year.

On the topic of the agents, deGrom is represented by Jeff Barry. As has oft been cited over the past few days, Barry is the agent who has been encouraging pitchers to self impose innings restrictions in response to how owners have handled free agency. At the crux of his position is, if teams aren’t going to pay you for the wear and tear you put on your arm during your years under control, don’t allow the teams to abuse your arm for their own gain. Push back.

So, deGrom now has to process all of this and much more in deciding his next step in both negotiation and in terms of what he does should he not get an extension. At the same time, Noah Syndergaard will be making similar assessments.

Like deGrom, Syndergaard has had some scary injuries in his career including a torn oblique and last year’s hyper-extended finger. Also like deGrom, Syndergaard had a front row seat to the Harvey saga. Also, like deGrom, he is represented by Barry, who may very well be having the same discussions with Syndergaard and the team about restricting his innings in 2019.

This means how Brodie Van Wagenen handles these negotiations with deGrom could have a far-reaching impact. Not only could the Mets suddenly find themselves with deGrom limiting his innings, but they may also have to deal with Syndergaard heeding the advice of his agent and doing the same. That’s a very dicey situation for a Mets GM who has not built sufficient pitching depth to withstand his top two pitchers having innings restrictions.

Therefore, at the end of the day, the Metsask themselves if it is worth not giving deGrom what Van Wagenen, himself, told deGrom he was worth just a few short months ago when he was deGrom’s agent. Really, the Mets not stepping up to the plate here could have devastating consequences for their 2019 season.

15 thoughts on “How deGrom’s Contract Situation Could Impact Syndergaard”

  1. oldbackstop says:

    I was nodding my head until your last sentence came out of nowhere.

    Creating a precedent of huge bucks after four years would be devastating…who else does that as a practice? We are competing against 29 teams, who, with some individual exceptions, get six years of cheap talent. Can a team owned by the Coupons compete? What about Matz and Conforto coming along?

    DeGrom has been paid $12 million by the Mets despite the spotty track record you outline. This year he’ll make $17 million, which he just negotiated in a contract outside of arb. Next year he’ll probably get a raise. What’s the, almost $50 million? Cry me a river for his family security. I think Joe Bagadonuts Mets fan will turn on him pretty quick when he starts a slowdown strike.

    Then he is going to go into FA at 33 with two years of watered down stats and a reputation of being a malcontent?

    Good luck, Jake. If you aren’t living up to you contract you aren’t getting another one from me. And watch closely Thor, Matz, Conforto, et al.

    Better to trade him than depend on a guy whose is TELLING you he’s not going to try his hardest.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Yankees stepped up and signed Severino. Phillies did the same with Nola.

      Smart teams lock up their aces.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        I gotta take a knee here. You are conparing two guys in their mid 20s signing deal approx 4/$40 to the deGrom issue? He’s five years older expecting a longer deal at twice the AAV…..

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I’m comparing teams locking up their aces, not their contracts

    2. NYer says:

      Don’t sign them and let the Mets two best pitchers close themselves down in advance of a playoff run. The reality is that ownership’s cheapness means they are unlikely going to sign these players as free agents and, if so, why should they risk hurt themselves more prior to signing a free agent contract? They would have to be stupid after seeing the Mets toss Harvey our kinw trash. So it looks like in place of a dynasty, the Mets competitive window will basically close. Not a big deal as Mets fans are used to eating manure sandwiches fed to them by ownership:

    3. NYer says:

      Pitching fewer innings won’t equal malcontent, but an arm with usage. That’s a receipt for a bigger free agent contract not a smaller one. So sorry, deGrom is not going to rush hurting himself for the Mets knowing that he’s not getting a free agent contract from them. And your attitude is exactly why he needs to focus on what’s best for him not what’s best for a team with cheapskate ownership.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Players first priority should always be their careers

      2. OldBackstop says:

        If he wanted to restrict his physical activity this season to his own metric, why did he sign a $17 million 2019 contract three months ago?

        Any pitcher ever can claim physical fatigue or maladies and not play. By announcing it in advance, deGrom is simply blackmailing.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          deGrom agreed to $17 million in arbitration because that’s what the construct of the system indicated he should receive.

          As for blackmailing the team, if you want to call it that, you can. I’ll just note deGrom is well within his rights to do so both as a negotiation tactic and as a means to protect his arm (should it come to that).

  2. NYer says:

    It is neither blackmail nor a voluntary contract. The 17 million below market contract is telling deGrom exactly what he’s getting for one year and deGrom, by telling the Mets that he’s putting himself on a innings limit, informing the team exactly what it is getting for this money.

    It’s no different than telling a guy who wants to lease a car, rather than buy it, that you only get 10,000 miles for the year. The guy doesn’t like it, don’t lease the car.

    Right now, if the Mets don’t like deGrom’s limits, then they can just cut him (or trade him), but to demand unlimited innings usage it looks like the Mets will need to pay for that right.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      That’s it right there. If the Mets don’t like it, there are a litany of options at their disposal. It’s up to them if they want to use them.

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