The New York Mets are preparing to embark on a season in which they hope to reach the promised land of the World Series once again. Only this time, they plan on being crowned “Champions.”
The business side of baseball can interfere from time to time, and a major component of the 2015 National League Pennant winners, Jacob deGrom, finds himself in a sticky situation over his contract.
In 2014, deGrom earned the NL Rookie of the Year award and then went 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 191 innings during his sophomore season, a season which earned him an All-Star Game selection and a seventh place finish in the CY Young voting. The righty also had a 2.88 ERA in four playoff starts.
During his outstanding campaign, deGrom only made $556,875, and the league minimum is $507,500 for the 2016 season. The Mets were going to give him $607,500, which deGrom felt his team was severely undervaluing him and refused to sign in protest.
ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reported that because he rejected their offer, the Mets renewed deGrom’s contract and will pay him $607,000 this year, a small raise, but nice considering the control New York has. They could easily have given him the bear minimum ($507.5k).
deGrom is only entering his third season in the majors and is not eligible for arbitration until 2017, when he can negotiate for a much larger paycheck. Signing the contract is honestly just a formality and is basically useless due to the fact that New York holds his draft rights. The teams hold all the power until a player becomes eligible for arbitration.
The system can be aggravating to players, but they agreed on such a system during collective bargaining, so deGrom and other players in the same boat have no recourse.
“That’s the business side of the game,” deGrom said to Rubin on Friday. “That’s why I hired my agents. I feel like I have some of the best in the business. It was a business decision that we decided to make. We have great respect for the Mets and the system that they have, and I feel like I have a great relationship with them. As I’ve said before, I love playing here. And I want to be in this uniform for a long time. It was just a decision based on the business side of the game.”
It’s also very important that he noted that he still loves the organization, while mentioning how the business side of baseball has the tendency to pop it’s head in the mix once and a while.
We’re also not too far away from deGrom to earn a multi-year extension, but when he does become eligible for arbitration, there’s no doubt he’ll get paid for what he is: a true phenom.