After posting a record season, that included both good and bad records, Jacob deGrom is looking to continue his success on the round as a member of the upstart New York Mets. Headlining their rotation for yet another season, deGrom will team up with longtime teammate Noah Syndergaard to hopefully help lead this team back to the playoffs.
The Mets went out and became big-time players this offseason, orchestrating a deal to bring All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and former All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano to the Big Apple, in an act to help jumpstart their rebuild/retooling phase. Seeing Cano in New York is not new, but seeing Cano in a jersey other than the Yankees is going to be a hard pill to swallow for any fans in the Bronx.
Bringing both Diaz and Cano into the fold are two big pieces for the Mets, but that does not address enough of what plagued them in 2018. Offensive firepower was the team’s biggest downfall in 2018, as deGrom and company pitched brilliantly but their records do not reflect that due to the lack of runs backing them up.
In 2018, deGrom had a sparkling 1.70 ERA but pitched to an 11-10 record, abysmal to say the least. If a pitcher were to earn an ERA under 2.00 across an entire season, normally you would think that he would have at minimum 20 victories on the season.
But the 2018 version of the New York Mets are no regular team.
The Mets struggled throughout 2018 and are looking to put last season behind them. Here are three ways that deGrom can help the Mets move on in 2019.
Finally gets 20 wins
Adding Cano helps spread out the lineup to help produce more runs, but deGrom will need to carry his weight again. While he should (hopefully) not be asked to carry a large load and perform as well as he did last season, deGrom should have the stuff to finally cross that 20-win threshold.
To this point, his career high in wins is 15, set back in 2017 across 37 games and 31 starts. Making 30+ starts is key to how the Mets season goes as if he makes less than that he most likely is not as successful and efficient.
deGrom has the potential to get 21 wins this upcoming season against 9 losses, upping his career win/loss ratio while again displaying his worth to the Mets, who have for some reason been hesitant to offer him a long-term contract.
ERA climbs – but stays below 3.00
No starting pitcher in the past few years has had as good of a season as deGrom did in 2018, specifically focusing on his ERA. While a 1.70 ERA is very efficient and remarkable, the likelihood of him replicating that feat is quite low for 2019.
Expecting his ERA to climb back up is quite normal, but he should still have an efficient system, provided his health does not become a factor. Any ERA under 3.00 is good, and he should be able to stay underneath that mark once again.
Pitching to a season that looks like 21-9, 2.78 ERA would put him in line for the National League Cy Young award, which he is no stranger to. If he were to have this type of season for the Mets, he should be able to earn a new deal that puts him in the top 10 of highest overall average salary, starting around $28 million per season.
deGrom finally gets paid
On record, deGrom has displayed his want to remain in the Big Apple with the Mets, but if they are foolish and do not back up the Brinks trucks to his house, he will not have a problem with leaving and going to a team that would value his services financially. A team like the Arizona Diamondbacks would be an underrated team that would be smart to go after him.
By securing the bag, deGrom would help show the rest of the league that it is not that hard to sign big-name free agents. After Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado all got monster deals to join a new team or remain with their original team, as long as deGrom has another strong season he should have no problems looking for a deal that is around eight years in length and minimally starts with a two and runs nine figures.
The Mets should ultimately end up giving him this deal at some point, but he did say that he does not want to negotiate during the course of the regular season, as it would be a distraction from his in-season mindset and performance. If there is no deal agreed upon before Opening Day, the Mets will be hard pressed to negotiate during the year. If they do not hold a constant line of conversation during the year, they increase their chances ten-fold of losing him next offseason.
deGrom and the Mets are facing a contractual crossroads soon with no end in sight, but as long as deGrom continues to perform on the diamond, he will eventually get the money he deserves.