For much of the 2018 season, the media speculated on who would make the New York Mets a trade offer they couldn’t refuse for ace pitcher Jacob deGrom. No one did, of course, and the talents of arguably the best pitcher in baseball were wasted on one of the worst teams in baseball.
Next season, deGrom will still be stuck on a team going nowhere. But at least it appears that he will get paid a lot closer to what he is worth.
The Mets and deGrom came to an agreement on a one-year deal for next season prior to the Friday cutoff time. He’ll make $17 million next season, a raise of $9.6 million over his 2018 salary (a record for a player entering arbitration for the third time).
Jacob deGrom just beat Mookie Betts' hours-old arbitration raise record, jumping from $7.4 million last season to $17 million this year, source tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 11, 2019
His salary will rank 21st among starting pitchers next season along with J.A. Happ (Yankees), Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox), and Corey Kluber (Indians).
Hours earlier, the Red Sox had given Mookie Betts a $9.5 million raise making this the first time two players entering their second, third or fourth year of arbitration eligibility received such significant raises.
There is certainly no doubt that deGrom is worth the money, if not more. His record wasn’t great last season at 10-9. But it wouldn’t be hard to make an argument that most of them were not his fault. Five of the losses he was credited with were by two runs or less. In four of those games, he gave up three runs or less.
Even the best pitchers can’t win without a little run support.
Enough Cy Young voters saw past his record to give him the award for the National League last season. While he didn’t win many games, his excellence was not hard to see. He was one of 12 pitchers to throw 200+ innings last season; only Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer threw more than his 217. He had the lowest ERA in the game (1.70) and was fourth in strikeouts with 269.
The Mets still have some time to decide on deGrom’s long-term future with the team. He doesn’t become a free agent until 2021. When that happens, whoever does sign him will have to break the bank.