Whether it be through stardom or injuries, Mets ace Jacob deGrom has maintained this year that he is going to opt out of his current contract and test free agency this winter.
No hard feelings from Mets owner Steve Cohen, who likely understands more than anyone that this is still business.
“He has the right to do that,” the franchise’s fan-proclaimed savior said on Sunday.
But that doesn’t mean the Mets are just going to let him walk — or get outbid within reason by another team.
“We love Jacob. I think he’s the best pitcher in baseball,” he continued. “We’ll do whatever we can to make sure he stays. It’s his decision, not ours.”
The 34-year-old two-time Cy Young Award winner is back on the hill in the majors after missing the first four months of the 2022 season with a stress reaction in his right scapula. It was his sixth injury over the last two seasons, throwing a wrench into a career that was on a Hall-of-Fame-worthy ascension.
When he’s been able to stay healthy, deGrom is the undoubted top pitcher in baseball, posting a 1.95 ERA and a 0.865 WHIP in 610.1 innings pitched over the last five seasons.
Cohen would like to ensure that deGrom will stay in Queens for the final chapter of his brilliant career, though he’s not ready to talk a new deal just yet given where his team currently is atop the National League East.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he admitted. “Right now we’re trying to win our division. We’re going to sit down with Jake and try to figure it out at the end of the season. I think right now would be a distraction. Let’s focus on the season. We’ll deal with it at the appropriate time.”