SYRACUSE — The Opening Day deadline was looming, Jacob deGrom had already said he was unsure if the deal would get done, and Noah Syndergaard was on record exhorting the Mets to “pay the man already.”
All that, until finally, around 48 hours before the deadline expired, the man got paid.
The Mets signed deGrom to a new five-year contract Tuesday afternoon, the team announced. The deal is worth $137.5 million, sources confirmed, matching Johan Santana’s six-year deal in 2008 as the largest contract for a pitcher in franchise history.
Hometown: DeLand, Florida
New contract: Five years, $137.5 million
Awards: 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, 2018 NL Cy Young
Career stats: 55-41, 2.67 ERA, 1.072 WHIP, 1,000 strikeouts
DeGrom’s three guaranteed years are worth $97.5 million, for a $32.5 million average annual value. If the Mets pick up the 2024 club option, the contract will be worth $170 million over six years.
“This is a tremendous day for Jacob, his family, our fans and the entire Mets organization,” COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement issued by the team. “Last year, Jacob had one of the most remarkable seasons in baseball history and we are excited to be able to reward him. Mets fans can celebrate knowing their ace will remain in Flushing.”
The new deal, which replaces deGrom’s one-year, $17 million salary for this season, includes an opt-out after 2022, just like Chris Sale’s recently completed five-year, $145 million extension with the Red Sox. DeGrom will earn a guaranteed $107 million during that period, as compared to $105 million for Sale. The contract also includes a full no-trade clause. DeGrom will earn a $10 million signing bonus this year, along with a $7 million salary.
SNY first reported the deal.
So concludes what turned into a stressful few days for the Mets and their front office. On Saturday, the reigning Cy Young Award winner said he wasn’t as optimistic about the deal getting done before the Mets open their season against the Nationals on Thursday. On Sunday, Syndergaard came to his teammate’s defense, saying the front office should “quit all the fuss and pay the man already.” Fellow aces Justin Verlander, Sale and Blake Snell signed extensions last week, putting further pressure on general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the front office.
By Monday afternoon, Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon were meeting with deGrom and his agent at CAA, Jeff Berry, in Sarasota, Florida, and it became clear there was some movement by evening.
“Jacob has proven that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and we are excited that he is part of the short-term and long-term future of this organization,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “I’d like to thank Jacob and his agents as well as Jeff and the entire ownership group for coming together to make this happen. We look forward to seeing him in the blue and orange for many more years to come.”
As news of the deal flitted around social media, Syndergaard responded in a very Syndergaard way: A gif of Will Ferrell yelling “Awesome!” with a simple caption — “DeGrom” followed by a money bag emoji.
DeGrom traveled to New York from Sarasota to complete his physical, and didn’t join the team during its workout in Syracuse. He never even boarded the plane to upstate New York, Brandon Nimmo said, because talks were in the works.
Mickey Callaway couldn’t say much about the deal because it had yet to be confirmed by the team at the time. He did say he wanted “Jacob to be here as long as possible.”
The Mets made only Callaway, Nimmo and Dom Smith available after the workout at the Carrier Dome, though the two players did have a little bit more leeway to talk about their teammate.
“I actually only found out this morning, so I was really excited that we could kind of put that behind us,” Nimmo said. “Obviously, happy for Jake and what it means to him. We definitely want to have Jake around as long as we can.”
Nimmo added that this “no doubt” sent a message from the front office that the team was committed to winning.
“We’re really excited about that,” he said. “We’re just excited to have Jake for a few more years.”
Smith called last season’s ERA leader “the best pitcher in baseball” — something Syndergaard also highlighted when he told the team to pay up.
“We definitely were excited to definitely lock him down,” Smith said. “He goes out there and fights and finds a way to get the job done. He’s a leader, he’s a competitor. He’s everything that you want on this team, especially to lead us in the right direction. We were definitely thrilled, and we look forward to being around him for a long time.”
Largest contracts in Mets history:
Player Terms Year Signed
1. David Wright 8 years, $138M 2012
2. Jacob deGrom 5 years, $137.5M 2019
Johan Santana 6 years, $137.5M 2008
4. Carlos Beltran 7 years, $119M 2005
5. Yoenis Cespedes 4 years, $110M 2016
6. Mike Piazza 7 years, $91M 1998