Spring Training is here and Jacob deGrom’s contract is the big question that New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen must answer.
There were many Jacob deGrom questions and few concrete answers. That’s a simple summary of Brodie Van Wagenen’s press conference on Thursday. The newest New York Mets general manager took questions from the media for about 21 minutes and it’s clear that deGrom’s contract situation is the top storyline.
“All Jacob deGrom questions, really huh,” were Van Wagenen’s final remarks before the SNY cameras cut off.
Almost 19 of the 21 minutes were devoted to deGrom’s contract situation. In other words, locking up the reigning Cy Young is the biggest storyline surrounding the Metropolitans.
LIVE: Brodie Van Wagenen on the latest around Jacob deGrom's extension talks https://t.co/6O25pjqIc0
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 14, 2019
First things first, Van Wagenen and the Mets say they want to reach a long-term deal with deGrom. He’s the reigning Cy Young and although he’s on the wrong side of 30, he’s going to be a huge part of any success the team has in the immediate future.
“Yes, Jacob is 100 percent a part of our future now and hopefully for years to come,” Van Wagenen stated.
But before Van Wagenen stated his commitment to deGrom, he confirmed that there have not been offers made by either side. That signals that they are still in the early stages. As a result, this could stretch on close to Opening Day depending on how far apart the two sides are on a potential deal.
As previously reported, the two sides have until Opening Day to reach a deal before they shut down talks during the season. Van Wagenen is adamant that he is on board with this decision so the team can avoid any distractions during the season. But this does feel as if deGrom and his representation are trying to put pressure on the Mets.
Trading for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano was a nice trade. That move brought in a legitimate closer and a veteran bat. Signing Jed Lowrie and trading for Keon Broxton are nice moves to add some depth to the roster.
But make no mistake, locking up deGrom is the first real test for Van Wagenen as general manager. The contract negotiations have the potential to place a black cloud over the season before it even starts. If deGrom doesn’t have long-term security, he could place an innings restriction on himself. He hasn’t committed to this yet, but he’s not ruling it out.
“We want to protect Jacob deGrom as much as Jacob deGrom and as much as his agents want to protect him,” Van Wagenen told reporters. “He matters to us not just during the regular season, but his impact is even more important for us during October.”
The way to avoid an innings limit is by giving deGrom the long-term security he desires. If the penny-pinching Mets won’t take out the checkbook for deGrom, they won’t take it out for anyone.
Furthermore, Van Wagenen’s previous relationship with deGrom makes this situation that much stranger. He plans to play a role in negotiations despite being deGrom’s former agent. This odd conflict of interest doesn’t bring much clarity to the situation.
“I think it’s important to make sure that we have clarity of his situation going forward,” Van Wagenen said at one point during his presser.
This will continue to dominate headlines until a resolution is reached. It’s time for Van Wagenen to step up and lock up the best pitcher in baseball.