NEW YORK: Jacob deGrom, the 27-year-old right-handed pitcher who helped the New York Mets reach last year’s World Series, declined to sign his new Major League Baseball contract with the club on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
DeGrom, the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year, is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, so the Mets kept his rights and renewed him at $607,000 after being unable to reach a deal with him on a 2016 campaign salary.
The Mets could have given deGrom the major league minimum of $507,500 but instead boosted the paycheck of $556,875 he received for last season, although the figure was low enough to keep deGrom from inking his deal, a symbolic protest gesture at best since he will play for the Mets this season.
That will make him eligible for salary artbitration next season and he is likely to command a rich payday then after having helped power the Mets to their first World Series since 2000, although they lost to the Kansas City Royals.
“That’s the business side of the game,” deGrom said Friday at the Mets’ Florida spring training complex.
“That’s why I hired my agents. It’s a business decision that we decided to make. We have great respect for the Mets and the system they have, and I feel like we have a great relationship with them.
“As I’ve said before, I love playing here and I want to be in this uniform for a long time. It was just a decision based on the business side of the game.”
Last year, deGrom made the National League All-Star team and went 14-8 with a 2.54 earned-run average with 205 strikeouts over 191 innings over 30 starts. He was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four playoff starts.
“We, as is the case with most if not all of the clubs, have a fairly straightforward approach to determining salaries,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.
“Yes, it is based on a formula, predicated on performance. And we’re really talking about marginal differences in salaries. This is the first renewal we’ve had since I’ve been here, so the process has worked well.
“And we respect Jacob’s right to take a renewal if that’s what he feels and is best in his interest and we’ll move on from there.”
DeGrom said he is interested in discussing a long-term deal with the Mets.
“I don’t think this will affect that in any way,” deGrom said. “We’re still open to discussions for long-term things, but nothing is in the works now and I don’t think this will have any effect on that.”