Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and the Mets have settled on a one-year deal worth $17MM, tweets Andy Martino of SportsNet New York. After earning $7.4MM in 2018, deGrom earns a $9.6MM raise from his 2018 salary, breaking the record for an arbitration raise set by Mookie Betts just hours ago. The $17MM figure represents the highest all-time salary for a pitcher in his third year of arbitration eligibility. deGrom, who will remain under team control through 2020, was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12.9MM in 2019. It should be noted that the projections’ guiding algorithm cannot account for context, which made deGrom a near lock to eclipse his relatively light projection, as Matt outlined here.
The 30-year-old righty enjoyed a season for the ages in 2018, posting a minuscule 1.70 ERA in 217 innings of work and striking out 269 batters. His efforts earned him 29 out of 30 first-place votes for the NL Cy Young Award despite an unremarkable 10-9 record. However, with the Mets making headlines as perhaps this winter’s most active team, new GM (and former deGrom representative) Brodie Van Wagenen hopes that the team’s offseason upgrades will translate to increased run support for the Mets’ stellar starting staff and vault the club into playoff contention. The staff ace, of course, is an integral part of that winning formula, though it remains unclear whether the team will be willing to dole out a hefty extension in future offseasons to keep deGrom around for years to come. Of course, the club may look to Noah Syndergaard, just 26 years of age, as an alternative, and a significant financial obligation to Robinson Cano over the coming five years may inhibit the team’s payroll flexibility. Regardless, the $17MM payday for deGrom will raise the bar for arbitration-eligible pitchers and lay the groundwork for what his earnings could look like next offseason, when he will be entering his final year of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency.