People within the New York Mets organization are "convinced" that starting pitcher Jacob deGrom will opt out of his deal and become a free agent next offseason, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
"Mets people are convinced deGrom will opt out almost no matter what. Though the Braves have been rumored, it is hard to see them gambling if they have doubts at all—they took five star players to arbitration and drew a line on iconic Freddie Freeman. The Rangers may make more sense."
DeGrom already said as much in March during spring training, per MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.
"That’s the business side of baseball. As a player, you build in opt-outs, and that’s the business side. But for me, I don’t want that to be any distraction. I’m excited about this team. I’ve said it before, I love being a Met. I think it would be really cool to be one for my entire career, but the plan is to exercise that [opt-out]."
However, those comments were also made before deGrom suffered a stress reaction in his right scapula, which caused inflammation. The 34-year-old is on track to return, though, and will make his second rehab start for the Single-A St. Lucie Mets on Friday.
When healthy, deGrom is one of the best pitchers in baseball. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner has gone 77-53 with a 2.50 ERA, 10.9 K/9 rate and 1.01 WHIP in his eight-year career.
He's also a four-time All-Star who was dominating hitters in 2021 (7-2, 1.08 ERA, 146 K) through 92 innings before suffering forearm tightness that ended his season.
DeGrom has been out for a full calendar year, but he recently looked like he'll be back to his dominant self in MLB soon enough. In his first rehab start, the right-hander hit 100 mph six times en route to striking out five batters over 24 pitches in 1.2 innings.
It's unclear whether deGrom will pitch for the Mets after this season given his contract status, but he'll rejoin a first-place team that will get a tremendous boost for 2022 with the ace's return.