It was a Hallmark-like Holiday Fest at Citi Field yesterday, as the Mets officially welcomed their newest acquisitions, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, who proceeded after the presser to assist “Santa” Brandon Nimmo and his tall elf, Corey Oswalt, as they handed out gifts to local school children at the team’s annual holiday party.
Smiles all around, as Cano and Diaz said all the right things as genuinely enthused by their newest employer and anxious for spring training to go win some games and “have some fun.”
GM Brodie Van Wagenen made it quite clear that he’s far from done reshaping his team, with free agent centerfielder A. J. Pollock also on his radar, and there are reports the Van Man is actively trying to acquire heralded Marlins catcher J. T. Realmuto.
There also were some reports Van Wagenen’s been talking to the Indians about starter Corey Kluber – which might require sending back one of the team’s Core Four starters, so that could be earth-shaking, but Klu is a favorite of skipper Mickey Callaway, and he’s anxious for a reunion.
But yesterday afternoon news broke that the Nationals had agreed in principle with free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin with a six-year $140 million deal.
Now while that deal – with a $24 mil average salary, whether they front load it, back load it, or just load it evenly – affects all free agent pitchers, and in general, all good starters everywhere, it particularly complicates possible negotiations between the Mets and their star Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.
So really, without further ado, one of the next deals Van Wagenen should start solidifying is a long term contract with deGrom. Time can only cost the Mets money, a lot of money. The longer they wait, the bigger the deal could grow, without any magic beans to plant.
It’s not like either side does not know what the pitcher wants. After all, as his former agent, perhaps only deGrom and Van Wagenen know best what it would take to close a deal. But, in agreement with the Commissioner’s office and the MLBPA, Van Wagenen must recuse himself from any negotiations with deGrom to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
But, hellooo, end of the day, it’s Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon who must sign off on any deal, so one way or another, the former agent is part of the deal.
As many Mets fans know, the Mets can stand by and do almost nothing. DeGrom is only arbitration eligible at this point, and does not become a free agent until 2021. He was tendered a contract, and should that go to arbitration, deGrom stands to earn a healthy raise one way or another.
Jake’s salary in 2018 was $7.4 mil. What would you give the Cy Young winner in ‘19? Double? Triple his ‘18 paycheck?
If the club waits, it’s apparent salaries are escalating. Who knows where they’ll be by the time deGrom is eligible for free agency.
It’s a shame that Brodie Van Wagenen the GM can’t take a ride in a time machine to visit the recent past and have a conversation with his former self, Brodie Van Wagenen the agent, so they can come to some sort of resolution for a new deal locking in the team’s best pitcher through his arbitration years and the first few years of free agency.
But ahh, let’s take a little sci-fi ride in that imaginary time machine and see where it goes:
BRODIE THE AGENT: Hello, Brodie, I’d like to talk to you about my client, Jacob deGrom. He’s due for a raise in arbitration, but let’s see if we can give him a secure future and avoid some of those messy free agent discussions. He was the Cy Young winner in the National league this past season, as you know.
BRODIE THE GM: Yes, of course, I’m all for it. What did you have in mind?
BRODIE THE AGENT: Well, I think a six-year deal better than the one that Patrick Corbin just signed with the Nationals would be fair, $180 million, with opt outs after years four and five.
BRODIE THE GM: Woe, hold on there, Brodie. After all, Jake will be 31 next summer, Corbin’s only 29, and we’re not sure a six-year deal would be in the best interests of the Mets organization. And a $30 million dollar average? That doesn’t help the club’s overall opportunities to succeed.
BRODIE THE AGENT: Okay, I’m listening. What’s your proposal?
BRODIE THE GM: What would be fair is a five-year deal, totaling $110 million, with salaries going from $15 mil, to $18, $22, $25, and $30 mil, no trade for the first three years.
BRODIE THE AGENT: Sorry, Brodie, let’s get serious here.
BRODIE THE GM: Okay, I’ll see if ownership will go five years, $120 mil, with an opt-out after year four.
BRODIE THE AGENT: Push it to $130 and we’ve got a deal.
BRODIE THE GM: I’ll meet you halfway, at $125.
BRODIE THE AGENT: Okay, it’s a deal. I’ll call Jake and see if he’s comfortable with the terms.
Wishful thinking, Mets fans, just wishful thinking. But if the club keeps stalling on this concept, that deGrom contract might set new records, making Zach Greinke’s crazy deal with the D-backs and his nearly $35 million average the next three seasons – which they’re desperate to get away from – seem like a bargain.