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Jacob deGrom Should Hold Out

Last year, in the midst of what was a Cy Young season, Jacob deGrom‘s agent made what can be best classified as a demand for an extension.

Specifically, his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen said, “We have discussed Jacob’s future with the Mets at length. Jacob has expressed interest in exploring a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come. If the Mets don’t share same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now. The inertia of current situation could complicate Jacob’s relationship with the club and creates an atmosphere of indecision.”

Since that time, Van Wagenen was hired as the Mets General Manager, and he is thereby prevented from negotiating a contract extension for deGrom due to the existing conflict of interests.

When Van Wagenen was hired, he merely offered, “I’d love to try to keep him if it’s possible. We’ll explore that in the coming weeks.”

A few weeks after Van Wagenen was introduced as the General Manager, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said, “I’m sure at some point we’ll get to speaking to Jake.”

According to reports, discussions have taken place, but no deal has been consummated. Even with deGrom’s arbitration case pending, no extension was consummated. However, it should be noted the two sides agreed to a record setting arbitration raise and $17 million salary for deGrom.

It’s been six months since deGrom’s extension demand and three months since Van Wagenen was hired, and it appears “inertia” has set in. As predicted by Van Wagenen things may be getting complicated.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported, “Eight weeks later and without any substantive talks since has left the deGrom camp, at minimum, disappointed, especially because the public comments of Mets executives matched what the agents were told privately — that reaching an agreement to avoid deGrom becoming a free agent after the 2020 season was vital to the organization.”

Perhaps this is a coincidence, but it should be noted this was reported a day after The Michael Kay Show and Mike Francesca were lockstep against the extension with Francesca going so far as to say, “It would be the dumbest move in the history of mankind.”

While people may or may not think it is a good idea for the Mets to extend deGrom, this is the exact moment deGrom should be seeking an extension, and he should be utilizing the leverage he has to get it.

As noted in the aforementioned Sherman article, deGrom’s new agent, Jeff Barry, sent a memo to players urging them to respond in kind to the way owners have been handling free agency. If owners are going to use analytics to justify not saying players, players should use them to protect themselves. As noted by Sherman, this would mean someone like deGrom demanding he be used under 200 innings in order to keep him healthy heading into free agency.

Certainly, you could understand deGrom wanting to pursue that path after seeing what happened with Matt Harvey. Harvey was supposed to be a prime member of this free agent class. Instead, his career has fallen apart partially because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. There are some who wonder what part in Harvey’s health issues his ignoring his agent’s advice and pitching deep into the postseason had on his career.

Taking all this into account, deGrom needs to use all of his leverage to get that deal now.

And deGrom has a lot of leverage. The Mets just lost the face of their franchise with David Wright medically retiring leaving deGrom as the likely heir to that title. The team has spent the offseason going all-in to try to win the World Series this year. It’s a plan which is partially predicated on deGrom being the ace. It’s a plan which begins to fall apart when deGrom has to be replaced in the rotation by one of the Mets other starting pitching options:

Pitcher ERA
P.J. Conlon 8.22
Drew Gagnon 5.25
Kyle Dowdy (AA & AAA) 5.15
Chris Flexen 12.79
Walker Lockett 9.60
Corey Oswalt 5.85
Hector Santiago (as a SP) 6.12

That’s a massive drop-off, and it is one deGrom may be pressured into exploiting to get his contract. While Barry’s suggestion to the players to set parameters could help, it may not be sufficient. After all, if the Mets fall apart again in May again, any request to hold back deGrom’s innings is not going to have the same force and effect as it would with a competitive team. Even worse, if deGrom gets hurt his leverage goes completely away, and the Mets are left questioning if they should even give deGrom an extension.

Really, anytime deGrom takes the mound in 2019 he is taking a chance. With his having had Tommy John surgery and an ulnar nerve transposition, he knows that as well as anyone. He should realize that all the more after he went on the disabled list after hyper-extending his elbow during an at-bat. Breaking it down, he knows that because he’s a Mets player.

Examining his leverage and what’s at stake, deGrom needs to seriously consider holding out.

To get the deal he wants, deGrom needs to consider telling the Mets he will not take the mound without an extension. If he and his agents truly feel the Mets are not prioritizing him and are dragging their feet on an extension, he needs to stop pitching. Let the Mets get a taste of their lacking starting pitching depth and realize if they are going to win they need deGrom.

Such a maneuver may not be well received, but with the beginnings of a media campaign against it, why should deGrom care? You may believe he may not be the type of player who would consider this, and that’s fine. It’s part of the reason why people love him. However, you do have to question when enough is going to be enough for him.

They hire his agent, and then the team goes ahead and puts him on the back burner. The man who was in charge of his contract is now giving money that could have been given to him to other players. Pitchers and catchers report in a week, and he still has no deal. When you look at the 2020 payroll, the Mets already have $109 million on the payroll before taking arbitration raises and a Zack Wheeler replacement into account. If deGrom waits, the team may not have money, and he is going to find himself in the position Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and others find themselves – extremely talented with few suitors driving down his price tag.

For his own sake, deGrom needs to let the Mets know he is going to hold out if they are not serious about giving him a contract extension. Hopefully, it never comes to this.

58 thoughts on “Jacob deGrom Should Hold Out”

  1. Pal88 says:

    You said anytime deGrom takes the mound he’s taking a chance….that argument can also be made for not signing a pitcher to long term deals..you can’t have both ways…
    Personally, I would try my best to sign Jake to a long term deal and take my chances..insurance anyone?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      This piece was written from the perspective of what deGrom should do. If it was on the perspective of what the Mets should do, that would be a relevant point.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    This article is like an AOC socialist wetdream.

    It business. It is money. DeGrom is no victim. The Mets have nursed him through TJ and paid him $12 mil for only about 600 mlb innings so far. Next year he’ll make $17 m for 200 inings, if we are lucky.

    You think a guy is going to strike his Age 31 and Age 32 seasons over the outrage of a mere $17 m in 2019?

    Wheeler is the one we should be thinking about. DeGrom we have through 2020.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You think it’s socialist to suggest a player to go forth and get paid due to his net worth and contributions and not by his FMV contributions and value added?

      Seriously?

      1. OldBackstop says:

        This is one of the dumber Mets blog posts. Perslnally, I think there should be a top end player salary of $5 million. You know what? Then a lot of the team could make that. Who makes that sort of money in real life? And you suddenly want to say “what they are worth”? Lets adjust Cespedes to what he is worth. Or Wright. Or Lagares. Or many. What? Only goes one way?

        A guy making 17 mil and holding out would be the object of ridicule and hatered. He isn’t one year out, he is two, and he’ll make another hug payday in arb next fall even if he is just meh in 2019.. Let’s see, since you are changing six years to four, who else is about to strike? Syndergaard, Matz, Conforto….they are all coming up on four.

        With one side of your mouth you are saying give Harphole or Machado $30 mil, and the other side say gift it to someone we dont even have to. He is making 17 mil and has made 12 mil already plus unknown endorsement money. He has legacy money for his kids and his kids kids.

        Are you fan of the Mets, or a deGrom cousin, or maybe a union rep? You want to burn any payroll we might have left to bolster pitching or the OF by giving a gift to deGrom?

        If a deal happens, it should be because the Mets get a serious friends and family discount. DeGrom will be in his Age 33 year when he hits the free market. It is all downhill from there. We sign him until he is 38, he ain’t going to be pitching Cy Young like for all that.

        Personaly, I’d have no problem giving him 5/$20 with absurd incentives…$10 mil for a Cy Young, $3 mil for the All Star, $3 mil for 200 innings. But if we pay him free agent money after year four, prepare to do it with everyone, and we will be the only team screwing ourselves out of the savings of young talent.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I think you should pump the brakes on calling something dumb after your AOC comment.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            Uh, yeah. If AOC has her way deGrom won’t see 90 percent of his contract anyway, so write that in if you are a fan of hers. Now why, after you trot out all his surgeries and health issues as a reason for desperate measures by deGrom…..why as a Mets FAN do you advocate plunging in head first anyway?

            And you say he is the face of the team like Wright — Wright never hurt the team by throwing a contract out the window three months after signing it and plunging the team and fans year into chaos. DeGrom didn’t get arbed onto $17 mil — he negotiated a deal one on one. Now you want him and his 17 mil to strike despite that agreement? He would be booed the rest of his career. I can’t fathom what you are thinking here outside of mancrush.

            And your DH article was one of your best, by the way.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            1. You’re completely wrong on your AOC point.

            2. The point was what deGrom should do.

            3. I want the Mets to operate like a NY team trying to win instead of them building what may soon be the fourth best team in the NL East.

          3. OldBackstop says:

            You need to read more than the sports pages. AOC proposed Wednesday a marginal tax rate of 70 percent above $10 million income. So beyond whatever absurd taxes he pays on the first $10 mil, deGrom would net less than $6 mil on the next $20 mil the Mets put out. If, godforbid, that little airhead has any say.

            It sures sounds like you are editorializing and justifying deGrom screwing us next month despite just agreeing to $17 mil for 2019. He would be utterly demonized.

            Your advice is that is what he should do? How do you think the rest of his teammate starters — who don’t TOTAL $17 mil this year, would feel about that?

            How do you thibk Joe Sixpack is going to like to hear deGrom say “hey, thanks for the $17 mil. You probably expect me to work like 2 hours every fifth day for a total of 32 days…like 64 hours for $17 mil? Yeah….gotta make that more like 50 hours.”

          4. metsdaddy says:

            Stop with the AOC comparisons and statements. They’re completely irrelevant to this conversation.

            As for his teammates and fans, are they going to be there for him if he gets hit with a comebacker which ends his career and leads to a series of health problems?

            No, they’re not, and that’s why he should do what’s best for him and ignore the noise.

          5. OldBackstop says:

            So you advocate he atrike. Stuoidest thing I have ever heard on a mers blob. You would blow the guys carefukky built up popularity in in sentence

            If we cant rely on him, fukit, trade him now. We could get 2 number 2 level young starters and unload a contract like Fraizers.

          6. metsdaddy says:

            Why should deGrom govern his life and career on what fans think of him?

          7. OldBackstop says:

            Have you no decency ,sir? He just negotated and signed a $17 million contract. Now a few months later you want him to break it? Why bother doing business with such a person? Maybe in an August pennant run he strikes for a 50 percent raise, based on how much he is worth to the team. Hell sign him for ten years, he can do that every August. Lying liars lie, that is what they do.

          8. metsdaddy says:

            I believe he should hold out if his GM does not follow through on his promise to get deGrom a new deal.

            I believe he should not risk his career for an organization which has previously ignored prior agreements so as to push pitchers past their breaking points.

            I also note the $17 million is an arbitration settlement figure the Mets can walk away from at any moment during Spring Training – just like they did with Ruben Tejada.

            Ultimately, this is a business, and it is one where both sides are supposed to utilize their leverage to get the best financial results they can. For deGrom, that may mean holding out.

            Sorry if you find people utilizing leverage to maximize their earnings to be offensive.

          9. OldBackstop says:

            Incorrect. Read the news coverage. The Mets AVOIDED arbitration and deGrom negotiated a 17 million one year deal SIGNED CONTRACT. If he holds out after that, he is a dead man in baseball.

            Correct yourself, please.

          10. metsdaddy says:

            Actually, it’s technically a settlement because they agreed to a number to avoid a hearing.

            Also, to suggest he’s a dead man in baseball if he holds out is complete and utter nonsense

          11. OldBackstop says:

            Had deGrom refused to talk and he got the lower of the teo figures bfefore the arb, he might have moral ground to press for a long term contract. He threw those cards un and signed his deal.

            Who he really should be pissed at is the goober who talked him into four years off college.

          12. metsdaddy says:

            That’s nonsense. If he doesn’t settle there’s an arb hearing where a number gets assigned to him.

            It’s also bizarre you’d criticize anyone going to college, especially a guy who was first a SS when he went to college.

            Overall, his 2019 salary is an effect of the CBA, and it is not him negotiating to get a deal. His 2019 arbitration salary also has no effect on what his 2023 salary would be.

          13. OldBackstop says:

            And when was he “promised” a new dead?

  3. metsdaddy says:

    His agent who is now the GM did

    1. OldBackstop says:

      Exact reference please?

      1. metsdaddy says:

        It’s in the article

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Where in the article is that? There are some platitudes about “love to keep him if possible” and we’ll get to speaking”. How do you get to “promised a new deal”?

          Why even bother signing a contract with someone who is actively breaking the contract you have with them?

          1. metsdaddy says:

            As his agent, BVW promised to get deGrom a new deal. Just because he switched sides, it does not mean his fiduciary responsibility disappeared.

            I’d also note you’re right the Mets don’t have the motivation to extend him now. That changes if deGrom holds out. If that were to happen, the Mets would be motivated to get him back pitching.

          2. OldBackstop says:

            This is the stupidest thing ever written on the internet. I won’t even bother to dismantle it.: ”

            “”As his agent, BVW promised to get deGrom a new deal. Just because he switched sides, it does not mean his fiduciary responsibility disappeared.”””

          3. metsdaddy says:

            The stupidest thing written on the internet was you saying a player trying to negotiate for a better deal amounts to socialism.

            The second dumbest thing is your showing a complete and utter misunderstanding of fiduciary responsibility.

          4. OldBackstop says:

            Exactly because he switched sides, his “fiduciary responsibility” utterly disappeared. Jake has a new agent. Brodie has an arm’s length from negotiations for his ex-clients. This was day one press conference shit, dude.

            Any remant of fiduciary reponsibility to Jake by Brodie is long gone. The deal could not have proceeded otherwise. This is not confusing. An 8th grader would understand this. Roles have changed, time has gone by, market realities have changed. Jake is “owed” a deal”? What deal? 3/$60? 7/$150? 10 $300? What does the poor SOB we have paid $29 million to, with a guarnteed mid teen million arb next year even if he sucks or is injured….what is he “owed”?

            You are badly lost at sea here, MD. Paddle toward shore.

          5. metsdaddy says:

            Don’t be condescending and stupid because you don’t understand a concept like fiduciary responsibility

          6. OldBackstop says:

            Clearly you have idea what fiduciary responsibility is. It is an obligation that applies to your current clients/customers/investors. It does not survive the termination of a role as officer, agent, attorney, whatever. If the president of Coke moves to Pepsi he doesn’t carry a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders of Coke anymore. Brodie is at an arms length in these negotiations it was said, but 100 of his fiduciary duty is to the Mets as of even date.

            Fiduciary term is a legal term, breeching opens cans of various civil and criminal whoop ass. At the most, on a strictly slut-shame basis, you could say maybe he has a moral obligation. But even that is weak.

          7. metsdaddy says:

            Your example shows how much you don’t understand fiduciary responsibility

          8. metsdaddy says:

            A representatives fiduciary duty does not cease upon the end of an engagement, and more than that, the previous existence of one does not permit you to work against the interests of a former client.

            Seriously, you’re out of your element here, and you’re letting your blind loyalty to ownership stand in that way.

        2. OldBackstop says:

          So, if the president of Shoprite becomes the president of Acme, he still owes Shoprite owners a fiduciary duty while undergoing his new duties for Acme?

          This is like an 8th grade discussion. You have NO idea what you are talming about.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            No, I’m not saying that, and for you to suggest that proves you don’t understand the concept

  4. Horace Fury says:

    You suggest that, absent an extension, deGrom inform the team that he will not pitch in 2019. What mechanism exists for a pitcher to decide he will not pitch?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Having his agent tell the team he’s holding out

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Lol….whatever. “I just signed this $17 mil contract avoiding arbitration, but now Im holding out.’ How to destroy your career, and popularity in one sentence. Maybe Lagares, D’Arnaud, Vargas, Mesoraco, Wheeler, should join him? Hell they are on the streets in Oct, Jake is under control until 2020.

        And what is with this ***** ****of having his agent tell the team? You think that is going,to stay some back door threat? No, that is leaked in 2 minutes. You want to do that, you man up, call a press conferen e, look the 7 year old kid in the front row in the deGrom jersey in the eye, and tell him ” team be screwed, my sworn word on my contract be screwed, I want hundreds of millions, not tens.”

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I’m so happy you’re pro-Wilpon to the extent you believe a player holding out for a contract extension ruins a player’s career.

    2. OldBackstop says:

      One mechanism exists. Breach of contract. Which is an interesting way to seduce a new contract.

      The only pressure you can put on here if you are deGrom is to say “If I don’t have an extension by xxx date I am going to test the market in 2020.” And that is premature….maybe it is something Wheeler could do, since he is an FA in October.

      What you DON’T do is go on a one man strike. Nobody would have your back, fans, teammates….even the player’s union is about the integrity of contracts.

      All of which is painfully obvious.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Ask yourself one question – can the Mets afford to have deGrom sit out games in 2019

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Is that your contribution to labor negotiation? When one thinks they will be worth more than the record setting $17 million contract you have for a given year, you then simply refuse to play?

          How about Mike Trout? What the heck is he doing playing? Strike. Realmuto has as much time left, no FA until 2021, and only make $5.9 mil. Strike! Mets would be screwwd without Thor and Wheeler, and if can dispend all business morals to justify deGrom holding the Mets season for eansom, I’m sure you can write an article sating they should start ignoring themselves contracts.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Answer my question instead of going on an inane rant which brings up non-comparable situations

          2. OldBackstop says:

            They are not comparable….every team has key players. You have brilliantly discovered that key players can extort more money?

          3. metsdaddy says:

            No, they’re not remotely comparable.

  5. Rich says:

    so what stops anybody who is two years from free agency from holding out. Wouldn’t that be a violation of the CBA. Just because I say I’ll give you a new deal doesn’t mean you’re going to like the numbers. He has no power till he’s a free agent ..its that simple

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s not true he has no power. He has an immense amount of power because the Mets need him to contend. Without him, they’re doing with Vargas as the fourth starters and a starter with a 5.00+ ERA.

      1. Rich says:

        But again…Doesn’t it go against the CBA…and what stops everyone from doing it…or can an owner after agreeing to an arb contract say…sign this extension or we will lock just you out

        1. Rich says:

          Has it ever happened before

          1. metsdaddy says:

            I can’t remember the last time it’s happened. Then again, I know of no instance where a player was promised by his agent he’d do all he could do to get him an extension only to switch sides and not give it to him.

        2. metsdaddy says:

          The CBA does not expressly forbid it. At most, a team could put him on the restricted list. If he’s there, he accrues no service time.

          That also means the team can’t play the player until he’s taken off the list. For the Mets, that means they lose their ace.

          As for an owner, they can’t lock you out. Instead, they can just release you, and depending on when you’re released they owe the player anywhere from nothing to a fraction of the salary due.

  6. Rich says:

    Say if he does hold out…does his service time stop ??

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If he’s on the restricted list, yes

    2. oldbackstop says:

      As does his pay. So MD’s hold out is simply countered by the Mets putting deGrom on the restricted list, His nice $17m paychecks stop coming, and teams cab make offers on him or trade deals, but the Mets control him at that point. Maybe they sign an ace for $17 mil and deGrom can sit there and watch himself grow older, poorer, and exactly as far from free agency.

      So advises MD Sports Marketing.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        The Mets aren’t going to tank their season to avoid paying deGrom. If deGrom holds out, they either get an extension done or trade him.

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