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New York Mets: Freshly paid Jacob deGrom will live up to his contract

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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You better believe New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom will live up to his new contract.

Finally, after months of waiting, Brodie Van Wagenen did what he suggested the New York Mets do last summer back when he was an agent: he signed Jacob deGrom.

The Mets’ ace has signed a five-year deal worth an average of $27.5 million. His kids won’t go hungry and there may even be some leftovers for Latrell Sprewell’s offspring as well.

deGrom’s big payday is an unquestionable wise decision by the franchise. The reigning Cy Young winner did everything asked of him and more while keeping a rather cool head even with a lack of run support. Consistently terrific and in the prime of his career, deGrom is someone I believe will live up to the contract.

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At an average of $27.5 million, he’s among the highest paid players in the game. More important than anything, he stays with the Mets beyond 2020 when he would have hit the free agent market.

deGrom is different from most 30-year-old pitchers. The former shortstop has a fresher arm than most. Though he has dealt with injuries during his career, he has remained relatively healthy since his MLB debut in 2014. In his five seasons, deGrom has made between 22-32 starts each year.

There’s always a worry when signing a veteran to a longer deal that an injury or sharp decline is in the near future. deGrom appears different. He’s not someone who was hurling 200+ innings in his early 20s. In fact, he never went higher than 147.1 frames in his time down on the farm.

This doesn’t guarantee he’ll take the field every fifth day indefinitely for the next five seasons. However, there are examples of guys with much more strain on their arms pitching Cy Young caliber baseball well into their 30s. Max Scherzer is a fine example of this; winning the two previous Cy Young Awards before deGrom ended his streak this past season. Justin Verlander is another guy who at 35 last season tossed 214 innings and posted a 2.52 ERA of his own. Like Scherzer, he was a runner-up in the Cy Young.

deGrom doesn’t have the same track record as this pair, but that’s only because he started a little later. By the time Verlander was deGrom’s age, he was in Major League Baseball for nearly a full decade. Scherzer also spent significant time reaching 30+ starts while in his 20s. Even now, in what should be their declining years, they are among the best.

Will deGrom be the same when he’s that age? I believe so.

By this point in his career, I would think most pitchers in deGrom’s situation would have a mulligan season. Well, he hasn’t. His career 2.67 ERA is a representation of exactly how wonderful he is at preventing runs. deGrom simply does not allow crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Even in 2017 when he posted a career-worst 3.53 ERA, deGrom finished eighth in the Cy Young voting.

deGrom is an intelligent pitcher who should age well. He’s not flashy. He’s not a flame-throwing who relies on blowing people away. He’s an ever-evolving arm who should remain as one of the best in baseball for the remainder of this new contract.

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All he needs to do is be himself for the next half-decade. There isn’t a better way the Mets could have spent this money.

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