While most within the organization have not experienced the same type of free agency as deGrom, one Mets legend has been through a similar situation. Mike Piazza, after being traded to Flushing from the then-Florida Marlins back in 1998, became a free agent following that season.
The Mets gave their All-Star catcher the then-richest contract in Mets history, a seven-year, $91 million deal.
So SNY’s Michelle Margaux asked the Hall-of-Famer his thoughts on deGrom’s free agency at the Italian American Baseball Foundation gala on Thursday.
“I learned as a player you do have to make a decision that you feel is best for your career,” Piazza said. “I hope [deGrom] takes all that into account and realizes what he has here and how much he’s loved here.”
Piazza added that baseball has changed, alluding to players not staying with teams very long and how lucrative free agency has become, but the 54-year-old said that it’s hard to understand all the feelings that deGrom is going through.
He suggests the Mets make the best offer they can and hope that the two-time Cy Young winner wants to stay in Queens. But Piazza also says fans should respect deGrom’s decision either way.
“Regardless of what he does, he’s an amazing guy and Mets fans should treasure what he’s done up until this point and going further healthy, if he stays, what he can contribute,” Piazza said. “I do feel he has a lot left in the tank.”
In nine seasons, all with the Mets, deGrom has a 2.52 ERA and 1,607 strikeouts along with his two Cy Young awards, a Rookie of the Year and four All-Star selections.
With the Winter Meetings starting Dec. 4, the Mets have a chance to woo deGrom back to the team. Aside from the Mets, the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees have all been linked to deGrom, but the Mets are “hopeful” he will choose them, and Piazza -- even if a bit cautious-- feels the same way.
“I pray that he stays,” he said. “But that remains to be seen.”