New York Mets GM hopeful of bringing back superstar pitcher Jacob deGrom in free agency

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New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler hopes, and believes, ace pitcher Jacob deGrom will choose to re-sign with the team after opting to enter free agency.

DeGrom, 34, signed a five-year, $137.5million extension with the Mets back in 2019, which included an option to void the final two years of the deal to enter free agency early.

After starting 32 games in the year he signed that deal, deGrom has battled a string of serious injuries, only starting a combined 38 games across the past three seasons.

At his age, with his injury history, he is likely looking at his last massive payday, so it should be no red flag for the Mets that he decided to opt out and cash-in for what will likely be a higher salary with extra years on top.

Eppler told the media on Tuesday that he is optimistic about his club's chances of bringing back the former Rookie of the Year and back-to-back Cy Young Award winner in 2018 and 2019.

"We had another conversation, or a couple of conversations actually leading up to the decision date," he said. "We just kind of made a pact to stay in touch.

"I think there's a good deal of interest there on his part, so that was articulated a number of times through the season and reiterated in our most recent conversation."

The Mets struck the first big deal of the offseason when they agreed to a five-year, $102m extension for closer Edwin Diaz the day free agency opened, making him the highest-paid relief pitcher in history.

SNY's Andy Martino is reporting the two teams most aggressively looking to lure deGrom out of New York are the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers, and he adds that if either of those teams decide to pay a top-of-the-market price on a deal spanning at least four years, the Mets would be hesitant to match it.