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Mets: Does Jacob deGrom’s extension signal a change in team philosophy?

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning at Citi Field on August 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning at Citi Field on August 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
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Jacob deGrom’s five-year contract extension was the largest one for a pitcher in franchise history. Does this signal a philosophy change for the New York Mets? 

Over the course of the New York Mets most recent offseason, one of the biggest issues fans were hoping to address was Jacob deGrom‘s future with the team.

Coming off a Cy Young award-winning season, rumors speculated over several months regarding whether or not the Mets would extend their ace and what his situation would be with the team long-term.

His camp came out and said that they would not negotiate an extension during the regular season, meaning that if the Mets wanted to get a deal done this year, they had up until March 28th to come to terms with an extension with deGrom.

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Our prayers were finally answered on Tuesday, March 26th, when deGrom and the Mets agreed on a five-year extension, keeping him in New York through the 2023 season.

The breakdown of his contract is a $10 million signing bonus up front, after which he will receive $7 million in 2019, $23 million in 2020, $33.5 million in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, and $30.5 million in 2023.

His extension also includes and an opt-out after the 2022 season, as well as a club option for $32.5 million for the 2024 season.

This is the largest contract the Mets have ever given a pitcher, and the second largest contract extension in team history, trailing only David Wright‘s 7-year contract extension worth $138 million which he signed prior to the 2013 season.

Since they, unfortunately, got burned on Wright’s deal, the Mets have since then been reluctant to give out large, long-term deals, with the longest contract they have agreed to since being Yoenis Cespedes‘ 4-year $110 million contract, which is another deal many fans have buyer’s remorse with.

Jacob deGrom’s extension now signifies a new approach and philosophy by the Mets front office, to retain their key players and acquire new talent in a new way. In fact, the entire 2019 off-season appears to have been a turning point for the franchise, as for the first time in a long time, they have been very aggressive in their pursuit of high-profile talent.

Under the previous front office, with Sandy Alderson as the team’s General Manager, the philosophy of the team was to build the team through a strong farm system and not get tied down by any large contracts. In fairness, under that approach, the Mets did make the World Series in 2015, as well as a Wildcard appearance in 2016, but aside from those two years, New York missed the playoffs in the other six seasons under his tenure with the club, which spanned from 2011-2018.

However, under the leadership of new GM Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets have been very aggressive in acquiring new talent to improve the team, most notably trading several blue chip prospects to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, along with some salary relief, and signing All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos to a 2 year contract.

While the Mets have yet to take the field this season and we do not yet know how all of these moves will pan out, the outlook for New York going into the 2019 season is brighter than it has been at any point in recent memory, including their 2015 team.

I think that it is safe to say that, with all due respect to Sandy Alderson, GM Van Wagenen has made more of an effort in one off-season to put together a contender in his first season with the team than the previous front office did their entire tenure. While key players such as deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto were acquired under Alderson’s watch, while each talented, they were not necessarily enough to get the team to the playoffs.

If this new, aggressive philosophy of the Mets front office, which is not afraid to pay for highly talented players, is going to be standard of the team going forward, and the team continues to put quality player on the field each season going forward and retain our other young, talented players going forward, then Mets fans can expect to be playoff contenders each season for years to come.

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No matter how we do it, as long as at the end of the day, the Mets win the final game of the year and raise the World Series trophy high above their head, then this will all be worth it.

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