On Wednesday, Jacob deGrom put on another show at Citi Field for the New York Mets and was given another loss. deGrom did not earn an ‘L’ or even a no-decision. The two-time Cy Young winner deserved the win.
The pitcher threw six innings against Boston, giving up one run on three hits with nine strikeouts. A fantastic performance followed by a loss because of offensive impedance has occurred too many times during deGrom’s tenure with the Metropolitans.
It’s no secret that the Mets do not deserve Jacob deGrom, but does he have an escape option before time runs out? The answer to this question is yes.
Jacob deGrom: The Ace’s Current Contract
Jacob deGrom is underpaid, which may sound crazy for a pitcher with an average annual value of $27,500,000. The All-Star signed a five-year deal with New York in 2019 worth $137,500,000.
The way the contract is structured, deGrom will make the bulk of the money in the next two years. 2021 is the first year that the pitcher will make over $30,000,000. He will make $67,000,000 in the next two years, and then things get interesting.
deGrom AAV makes him the 17th highest-paid pitcher in baseball. He is the 9th highest paid starter in the game, but this is deceiving because deGrom’s salary will drop after 2022.
In 2023, he is scheduled to make $3,000,000 less than 2022. New York has a club option to continue the contract in 2024, but deGrom could walk away one year earlier.
There is an opt-out in the contract after the 2022 season when the pitcher will be 34 years old. If deGrom is still pitching at a high level, he will be in line for another significant deal where he could probably work a contract with a higher AAV than $30,000,000.
Jacob deGrom: Why Would the Pitcher Leave?
If you look at deGrom’s current situation, it may seem crazy for the pitcher to leave New York. Steve Cohen is now the owner, and he said he wants to win a World Series within the next five years.
The team signed Francisco Lindor, one of the best players in baseball, for the next ten years. Lindor is struggling at the plate, but he will get hot at some point. The Mets will have Pete Alonso for the remainder of deGrom’s contract.
On paper, the Mets are a good baseball team with a potent offense. On the field, the talent has not turned into run production.
The fact is that deGrom’s lack of offensive support is not a new theme for the 2021 season. deGrom’s two Cy Young awards came in 2018 and 2019 when he went 10-9 and 11-8, respectively.
The pitcher led the league in ERA in 2018 with a 1.80 ERA. This number should not correspond with nine losses, except in Queens.
The future Hall of Famer has been with the Mets since 2014. Since the 2014 season, he is second in the league in cheap losses with 27.
A cheap loss is when a pitcher gives a quality start (6 innings, three earned runs or fewer) and gets the loss. This has already happened to the ace twice in 2021, and we are only one month into the season.
Even though Steve Cohen has a championship blueprint, it does not mean that deGrom is guaranteed anything. The way things have gone in the past, a championship blueprint may not be able to save the Mets’ lackluster offense.
Keep an eye on deGrom’s status over the next two seasons. If the bats do not begin to work, expect him to depart the Big Apple to pursue the one missing piece in his trophy case: A World Series ring.
Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.