The Mets have avoided arbitration with all eligible players — reaching a record-breaking deal with National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom — and have come to terms with the majority of their starting rotation in the process, a baseball source said.
DeGrom will get a one-year deal worth $17 million, the biggest-ever raise for a third-year arbitration player, according to MLB.com. He earned $7.4 million last year, and the $9.6-million bump edges Mookie Betts, who earned a $9.5-million raise from the Red Sox on Friday.
Noah Syndergaard will earn $6 million, Zack Wheeler will be paid $5.975 million and Steven Matz will get $2.625 million in 2019, the source said. Michael Conforto also avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $4.025-million deal, as did Travis d’Arnaud for $3.515 million.
DeGrom is not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season but has said he wants to remain with the Mets on a long-term deal.
The Mets opted to get a one-year deal done with deGrom rather than lock into a long-term deal, and it’s possible the team didn’t think a long-term deal with him was a viable option at this time. Injured outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is owed $58.5 million over the next two seasons.
Before becoming the Mets’ general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, of course, was deGrom’s agent. He is not involved in deGrom’s negotiations, a baseball source said earlier this week.
DeGrom, 30, agreed to a salary of $4.05 million for the 2017 season. He went 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 31 starts, which earned him the hefty raise to $7.4 million for 2018.
DeGrom went 10-9 with a major league-leading 1.70 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 217 innings last season. He set the single-season record with 24 consecutive quality starts.
Syndergaard, 26, has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason and was facing arbitration for the second time in his career. He made a hair under $3 million last season and remains under team control for three more years.
Syndergaard went 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 25 starts last season, which included two complete games and a shutout. He missed significant time last season with a strained ligament in his right index finger. He also tore a lat muscle and went 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA in seven starts in 2017.
Wheeler, 28, began last season with Triple-A Las Vegas but returned to the big leagues and had a solid season, going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 29 starts. Matz, 27, finished 5-11 with a 3.97 ERA in a career-high 30 starts.
Conforto missed the beginning of the season because of a shoulder dislocation and tear that required surgery. He had a .243/.350/.448 slash line.
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