While the Mets seem to have largely built out their 2019 pitching staff, there’s still some potential offseason work to be done. That may not mean bringing in new arms, though, so much as looking into new deals with existing ones.
There had been a general expectation that the Mets would pursue another rotation piece, whether to compete with or displace Jason Vargas in the #5 spot. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen cast doubt on that concept in an interview today with Andy Martino of SNY.tv (video link).
The Mets will “still stay in touch” with free agents, says Van Wagenen, but the team presently has “no plans to sign an additional starting pitcher.” Rather, per the rookie GM, the plan is to head down to camp and evaluate from there.
Whether or not Spring Training will provide opportunities — or create needs — for the Mets to consider additional hurlers, it’s expected to serve as a stage for contract talks. In particular, indications are that the club still intends to explore a new deal with star pitcher Jacob deGrom.
That negotiations haven’t yet started “has left the deGrom camp, at a minimum, disappointed,” according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. From the team’s perspective, Van Wagenen did not indicate that anything has changed. To the contrary, he says that he still “hope[s] Jacob deGrom is a lifelong Met.” There’s still ample time for talks to get started, of course — camp hasn’t opened, and deGrom is controlled for two more seasons — but it’s certainly interesting to hear that deGrom’s reps have been displeased at the lack of communication to this point.
Interestingly, Sherman also reports that the Mets have designs on holding talks with Zack Wheeler, who is earning $5.975MM in 2019 before reaching free agency. Wheeler is an interesting potential extension target, as he’s fresh off of an impressive season in which he re-emerged following a three-year run of injuries and struggles. He’s younger than deGrom and closer to free agency, but hasn’t reached his rotation mate’s successes on the mound and has a much more worrisome track record. Wheeler is a difficult player to value in a hypothetical extension scenario, so it’ll be interesting to see if the sides are able to line up on a deal.