A report today in the New York Post says Jacob deGrom has notified the Mets that he is open to negotiating a long-term contract, but that talks will end on Opening Day. However, there is a more disturbing part of the report that, if true, will not only poison the team’s relationship with their star pitcher, but it will also destroy deGrom’s relationship with his adoring fans.
Without further ado, here is the offending part:
DeGrom’s CAA agent, Jeff Berry, recently released a memo that outlined recourse for players who seek reform in free agency, following two historically slow markets. Among the ideas suggested by Berry was that pitchers could look to cap their workloads in a season to ensure their value remains at a higher level heading to free agency. And a source indicated deGrom could put such restrictions on himself if a new deal isn’t reached with the Mets.
Now, first of all, ESPN.com obtained this memo and I cannot find any part where Berry even “suggests” that pitchers do this. Maybe I missed it. You can read it yourself here.
But regardless of how subtle the suggestion might have been in the memo, the source says deGrom might do it. And that is very troubling.
Would Jacob deGrom really take himself out of games or not throw as hard, for example, to ensure he remains healthy enough for free agency? Would he wreck his sterling reputation, not to mention his career numbers that could theoretically lead to Cooperstown if he can continue to pitch like he did last season?
Listen, players have been dogging it since baseball began — not running out ground balls, lazily chasing after balls in the corner. But for a healthy, effective pitcher to walk over to a manager and say, “I’m done” after 85 pitchers just to preserve his free agency has to be unprecedented, right?
But then again, there are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. People have done far worse for far less. Knowing what a competitor Jacob deGrom is, I really don’t think this part of the report is true. But if it is, it will be getting very interesting around Citi Field this season.