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New York Mets avoid arbitration with Jacob deGrom and set a new record

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets and the National League pitches in the third inning against the American League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets and the National League pitches in the third inning against the American League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets made their most important decision of all this winter when they awarded star pitcher Jacob deGrom with the biggest raise in MLB history for an arbitration-eligible player.

In an offseason full of trades and acquisitions, Brodie Van Wagenen and the New York Mets have signed what ultimately may be their most valuable contract. The offseason will likely be remembered for the New York Mets aggressive run in which they added five former All-Star in Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and Jed Lowrie. The team has also made several complementary moves to add depth to their major and minor league rosters.

However, their recent agreement with reigning NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom may be the franchise’s most important move.

deGrom’s 2018 season was historic. He was arguably the best pitcher in baseball last season. He posted a ridiculous 1.70 ERA (best in the sport) and recorded a major-league best 24 consecutive quality starts. There aren’t enough nice things to say about his season.

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Still, his long-term status with the Mets was unknown. deGrom earned $7.4 million last season and was set to hit arbitration if he and the team failed to reach an agreement. While this wouldn’t mean they lose control of him, it could set up for some unfavorable discussions in front of an arbitrator.

As the deadline for a deal approached, many wondered if deGrom, his former agent Van Wagenen, and the rest of the team’s front office would be able to reach an agreement. The two sides apparently did see eye-to-eye.

That uncertainty has now vanished. The Mets chose to reward deGrom’s historic season with an equality historic pay raise. The two parties reach an agreement on a one-year $17 million contract for the 2019 season. The nearly $10 million raise is a record for a player eligible for arbitration. Only hours earlier, 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts had received the largest raise in arbitration history. deGrom toppled him from the record-books soon after.

While the move does not secure deGrom past the 2020 season, it does allow for continued negotiations between he and the team. It is also considered by many to be a sign of good faith on the part of the Mets.

Instead of the team offering considerably less money, they elected to fairly compensate their star pitcher. This move demonstrates the type of healthy relationship that could pave the way for a multi-year deal.

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If this deal does, in fact, help ensure that the Cy Young Winner and former Rookie of the Year remains with the Mets for the foreseeable future, it would be their most important signing thus far.

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