"I've enjoyed playing in New York and I would like to see myself as part of the team's future."
That was the refrain from Jacob deGrom Thursday afternoon during a 10 minute news conference in which every question revolved around his contract. Through it all the Mets' ace says he's trying to focus on baseball and letting his agents work it out behind the scenes.
"When I get here, I'm getting ready to pitch and that's why they're there to advise you and help you along the way with the contract things and the off the field kind of stuff," deGrom said.
The ironic part of inking deGrom to a long term deal is the fact that his former agent Brodie Van Wagenen was the first to call for the signing around last year's All-Star game. Now the Mets General Manager, Van Wagenen, says his goal is to keep deGrom in New York for the long haul.
"Everybody knows that Jacob deGrom is great," Van Wagenen said. "Everyone knows that Jacob deGrom needs to be handsomely rewarded for his performance. We need to make sure that the contract, or what we're willing to do is something that he's willing to do and that it makes sense to this organization short term and long term and that's what we're trying to work through right now."
So far the Mets have not made deGrom any offers. The team still has their Ace under control this year and next, which means they could push his big payday down the line or force free agency. But deGrom was already awarded a $17-million deal in arbitration, which the Mets GM said deGrom earned. And Van Wagenen says he thinks deGrom's opening day deadline is good for both sides to avoid distractions during the season.
"I do support having this resolved one way or another before opening day," he said.
If they don't reach a deal, deGrom could limit his innings during the season to try and avoid overuse and injury. But when asked if that was something he'd consider at Thursday's press conference he struggled to answer.
"I think that's going to be a discussion that's going to have to be had with my agents. Ehhhhh, that's going to be, uh, I'm going to have to sit down with them and really see what they think is best for me moving forward."
Just incase there was any question, deGrom will be the opening day starter for the Mets.
Manager Mickey Callaway confirmed that Thursday. If the two sides don't reach a deal it's conceivable that the Mets' ace could pull himself from starts in late innings or go on his own pitch count. Neither side, nor the fans would be happy about that.