Mets: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler due for large salary boosts next season
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets pitchers Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will receive a big salary raise in 2019.
This winter, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will negotiate a new contract with the New York Mets for 2019. Unless of course either is traded prior, the pair can either agree to a new deal for 2019 or head to arbitration where someone else decides how much they will earn in the upcoming season.
Both men outperformed their 2018 contracts. deGrom has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball while making a modest $7.4 million. Wheeler, who has been great in his own way, takes home $1.9 million this season. It’s actually the first season where he has crossed into seven-figures, with one final opportunity to do it before heading into free agency after the 2019 campaign.
deGrom will easily surpass the $10 million mark, but don’t expect him to set any records. Recently, we’ve seen players like David Price, Josh Donaldson, and Manny Machado break arbitration eligible records with huge contracts before their first free agent eligible season. Considering deGrom has another year of control after next, he’s at least a year away from the record books in this regard.
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Nevertheless, deGrom should about double his 2018 salary. I don’t think he’ll quite get to the $14.8 million needed to do so but should get close.
Of course, the Mets could make everyone happy and sign deGrom to an extension. This could allow them to get away with paying him a little less in 2019 before a major payday begins the year after. Let’s not hold our breath, though.
Wheeler is a stranger arbitration eligible case. In my estimate, he should get around $5 million next season. It’s far lower than he could have earned if his previous seasons were more productive or at least healthy.
Because of his delayed success, Wheeler’s paychecks next year may be thinner than an average pitcher who can produce at the level he does. Surely, this could benefit the Mets in their pursuit of other players.
Several other Mets will go through the arbitration process. Noah Syndergaard will do so for the second time in his career while Wilmer Flores does it for the last. Each man who enters almost always walks away with more money than he did the year prior. It’s a way to ensure veterans continue to earn what they deserve and one of the fairest processes in baseball.
Obviously, there are faults in it. deGrom deserves to be one of the highest paid pitchers in the game and he won’t be anytime soon. Wheeler is also deserving of a greater boost than he will get.
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Instead, Jason Vargas should comfortably begin the year as the second highest starting pitcher on the roster.