jacob degrom mets
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As the World Series continues creeping closer to its conclusion, it means the Hot Stove will start warming up. With many of their own players hitting free agency (including Jacob deGrom), the Mets will surely be an active participant in supplementing their roster.

With seven impactful players about to hit the open market, one would imagine they’d like to retain at least a handful. You’d be right in that assumption. A report on Wednesday from SNY’s Andy Martino said New York’s priority among internal free agents includes Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo.

Nimmo accumulated 5.4 fWAR and a 134 wRC+ as the team’s primary center fielder and leadoff hitter. As for Diaz, he just completed one of baseball’s most dominant reliever seasons ever.

But what about deGrom? You know, the Mets’ two-time Cy Young Award winner and the best pitcher in baseball since 2018? Why isn’t he a priority?

Age and money. When comparing deGrom with the combination of Diaz and Nimmo, this is pretty easy to see. Nimmo will be entering his age-30 season in 2023, while Diaz will be in his age-29 campaign. They’re likely to command longer-term deals than deGrom, who will be 35 in June.

And even if it takes New York $25 million per year each to retain Nimmo and Diaz, that’s still nearly a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. DeGrom could command a salary of about $40 million. Maybe the Mets want to secure those parts of their roster before trying to retain the right-hander.

What page is everyone on? In his final press conference of the season, general manager Billy Eppler spoke about the impending situation with Jacob deGrom. The ace will all but likely opt out of his current deal, which would pay him $30.5 million in 2023. Eppler mentioned there’s been an open line of communication between him and deGrom throughout the year. This included a sit-down conversation immediately after the San Diego Padres eliminated New York in the Wild Card Series.

There is a positive relationship between both parties, and it seems like they’re on good terms. Eppler specifically said deGrom knows how the Mets feel and the Mets know how deGrom feels. With this flow of communication, it doesn’t seem like any big surprises are on the horizon.

DeGrom not being listed as one of New York’s top priorities could mean one of two things. The first thing is they could already be in some sort of preliminary agreement on how to proceed on a new deal. Instead of rushing to make it happen, both parties can take their time this winter. The other thing is…maybe they both know how each other feels, and that lets the Mets feel confident in letting deGrom actually go out and test the market.

Or, there’s a bonus scenario. He could just be the third priority behind Nimmo and Diaz, and New York will work fast on that front, too.

Have feelings changed? After telling reporters he planned on opting out of his contract back in March, Jacob deGrom said in his next breath it’d be cool to finish his career with the Mets. A lot can happen between March and November, so do we know if those feelings have changed?

Thanks to some details shared by former Met Zack Wheeler, deGrom was still happy being a Met as late as mid-August.

Both the Mets and deGrom have played this situation close to the chest. It’s been close enough that we don’t really have a clue which way things will eventually go. All we have for now is trying to read between the lines on reports that come out, like the one from Martino.

We know deGrom will be highly sought after in the open market. If the Mets don’t get a new deal done with him early this winter, anything can happen.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.