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Mets extensions for guys not named Jacob deGrom will have to wait

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets takes the field in the first inning against Atlanta Braves on September 26, 2018 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets takes the field in the first inning against Atlanta Braves on September 26, 2018 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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As other teams sign their players to long-term contract extensions, the New York Mets are stuck in a situation where they won’t be able to get anything done until Jacob deGrom signs his.

If you’ve been following MLB news across the league, you will have seen plenty of star players receive contract extensions. February is a month when this often happens as teams and players must either agree to a deal or go to arbitration. Though the New York Mets avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players this winter, they also didn’t hand out any extensions.

Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies received a record-breaking extension on Tuesday. The well-deserved deal will keep him where he’s far and away the most productive and give the Rockies a perennial MVP every year for at least the next half-decade. I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.

Closer to Citi Field, the New York Yankees have locked up Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks, and are prepared to do a deal with several other players near free agency.

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Unfortunately for the Mets, those contract extensions will have to wait. Until Jacob deGrom gets one of his own, nobody will get a long-term deal.

The Mets have several extension candidates on their roster albeit few with any urgency. Aside from deGrom, who is two years away from free agency, Zack Wheeler is the most obvious member of the roster who could possibly use a few extra years to his deal. The caveat with Wheeler is that his 2018 performance was an incredible rebound from some down years and injuries. Extending him now may backfire on the Mets quicker than you can say “Todd Frazier’s oblique.”

Wheeler is set to hit free agency after the upcoming season. He’s the only one who could get a deal signed before deGrom. The only way I see it happening is if he accepts something so friendly you’d believe Mr. Rogers wrote up the details.

However, as Wheeler recently told John Harper of SNY, he’s not ready to take a discount. This is enough to convince me he’ll at least test the free agent waters next winter.

Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Noah Syndergaard are three Mets who could at some point in 2019 become extension candidates. All still have something to prove in 2019 before any deal gets down. Specifically, it’s health. I do think if the deGrom situation didn’t exist at least one might have signed a deal to buy out one year of free agency. Alas, there’s nothing.

The slow-moving market of free agents over the last two winters has caused several talented players to panic and sign team-friendly deals with their current squads. Even Arenado’s deal may, by comparison, look like a bargain in a few seasons.

Fortunately, the Mets are in good shape as far as control is concerned. Because they promote most of their players in late April or later, they have the extra year of arbitration eligibility. Conforto and Syndergaard will not become free agents until after the 2021 season. Nimmo and Edwin Diaz won’t reach the pool until after 2022.

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With some big money coming off the books over the next two years, there’s plenty of room for this organization to pay its current arsenal. Fans will have to stick it out a little longer to see any extension signed. deGrom is the priority, or at least should be, and until a decision is made, we’ll have to wait on others to get their deals.

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