The New York Mets and Extending Young Pitcher Contracts
- Updated: February 20, 2016
Now that spring training is underway and the media has had a chance to speak with the Mets young rotation, the subject of contract extensions has reared its ugly head once again.
Social media came to life late last week when Jacob deGrom made it known that he would love to stick around with the Mets. Follow that up with Matt Harvey saying he was open to an extension as well, and it’s all the buzz in New York.
If you wear your heart on your sleeve like I do, you want to extend the contracts now – all five of them. The kool-aid has been poured and you’re standing in line waiting to grab a glass. But is this something we all should be taking a sip of? Before we get into the pros and cons, let’s look at the breakdown:
The first pitcher eligible for a contract is Matt Harvey. Even though he said he would be open to extension talks, his agent Scott Boras will make sure it doesn’t happen. Boras is notoriously known for doing whatever it takes to make all his clients the most money possible, and that doesn’t come from contract extensions. So, for the sake of argument, let’s take Harvey off the table. What will most likely happen is he gets traded in 2018, unless the Mets are competing for a championship. Sad, but true.
Jacob deGrom seems like the most likely candidate for an extension. Though he is still under Mets control through the 2019 season, he will be 31 years old when he potentially hits the free agent market and will most likely be offered a conservative contract at best. Current contracts signed by Justin Verlander (10/$219.5), Jon Lester (6/$155), and Rick Porcello (4/$82.5) are looking like bad investments to date by their respective teams, and will most likely be the main reason deGrom decides to sign an extension instead of playing a potential dry market come the 2020 free agent season.
The next potential free agent is Zack Wheeler, who will play the market come 2021. As of right now, we know he wants to be part of the Mets with the call made to GM Sandy Alderson after the trade that never was back in July of 2015. Whether or not he earns the chance to even be discussed in that manner will come most likely after the 2017 season. After having Tommy John surgery last year, Wheeler will have to prove he’s better than ever and all bets are off until that happens.
Finally, we come to Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Both pitchers are under control through 2021, a full 6 seasons from now, with 2016 being their first full seasons in the big leagues. The earliest the Mets should even consider an extension is after this season, and even then I would give them another year.
On the subject of health, Matz already has one TJ surgery under his belt. Syndergaard does not, but with things being the way they are, you tend to wonder how long it will be before he goes under the knife himself. Aside from that, we need to see how well they do in their sophomore seasons. We know Syndergaard can handle the pressure, especially in the World Series with his impeccable velocity, but Matz is still very early in his career, and any mention of extension is definitely premature.
The Mets are in a very, very special situation at the moment – a situation the other 29 teams in baseball would kill to be in. The next three seasons are going to be some of the best in franchise history if the rotation can stay healthy, and we all hope they can take advantage of their good fortune and bring one championship back to Queens, hopefully two.
With that in mind, are the best years happening right now for this young pitching staff? Will they be consistent, or even better when free agency is on the horizon? Only time will tell, but what is certain is the Mets should have patience when the subject of contract extensions is on the table. With the earliest season being 2018 before having to make a decision, doing anything right now is just plain foolish.