There have been on-again, off-again trade rumors regarding Mets starter Jacob deGrom for several weeks now. They’ve never been particularly serious. They’ve mostly been speculation about what the Mets could do with a big asset at a time when the team is losing a lot of games. Most folks close to the Mets have said that they do not think the club will trade deGrom but, rather, will attempt to sign him to a long term deal, be it sooner or later.
Today Ken Rosenthal spoke with deGrom’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, and he does not sound at all optimistic that the Mets are willing or able to sign his client. In fact, he suggested that they consider trading him. From Rosenthal’s twitter account, quoting the agent:
“We have discussed Jacob’s future with the Mets at length. Jacob has expressed interest in exploring a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come. If the Mets don’t share same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now. The inertia of current situation could complicate Jacob’s relationship with the club and creates an atmosphere of indecision.”
There is some pretty apparent displeasure there, with some of it no doubt aimed at deGrom’s name coming up in trade rumors, which players really don’t like. And, it seems, displeasure with the progress those “discussions” he refers to about a long term deal for deGrom have made. Major League Baseball does not work like the NBA and teams are under no obligation to trade a guy simply when he demands one, but it’s not often you hear a player’s agent suggest a trade so explicitly as Van Wagenen did here.
deGrom currently leads the National League with a microscopic 1.68 ERA. He is eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season, when he will be 32. He and the Mets had preliminary discussions about an extension this past offseason but they went nowhere, and the sides agreed to a $7.8 million arbitration-avoiding deal. He has two more turns through the arbitration process and could be making some serious money by then, but he no doubt would like to land a long term deal while he’s at his peak.
Which, sure, a lot of players who are working through arbitration want a long term deal. Not all of them get them, but they at least have a dialogue with the team that lets them know where they stand. The fact that deGrom is so frustrated with the Mets that he allowed his agent to make this kind of a statement suggests that the Mets have managed this process poorly and have left one of their biggest stars exasperated. It speaks volumes about their organization and approach to its biggest stars.