Jacob deGrom made it perfectly clear.
Seven times during the course of a 10-minute Q&A with the media Thursday, the reigning NL Cy Young winner said the following, or a reasonable facsimile thereof: "I really enjoy playing here" or "I would like to be here" or "I would like to be a part of this team's future."
DeGrom did not seem angry or particularly frustrated. Perhaps a bit puzzled why an offer has not been extended yet after one of baseball's best seasonlong pitching performances. But it was obvious that he would prefer to ply his trade at Citi Field for the next few seasons. And that means beyond 2020, when he can become a free agent.
Your move, Mets.
It's not that the Mets don't have valid reasons to continue their analysis or crunch their numbers on deGrom, as they say they've been doing. He'll turn 31 in June, not 26 or 27. He's already had Tommy John surgery. But there are a couple of things that stand out to me.
One, deGrom has a total of 898 major league innings under his belt. Clayton Kershaw, the same age, has over 2,000. Chris Sale, one year younger, has 1,482. Gerrit Cole, two years younger, has nearly 983. Point being, deGrom has a lot of innings -- high-quality innings -- left in that right arm.
And two, deGrom is the de facto leader in the Mets' clubhouse, well respected and admired by his teammates for his attitude, work ethic and performance. If the Mets truly believe in what they call "sustained excellence" -- win now and win in the future -- what does it say to the Michael Confortos and Zack Wheelers and Noah Syndergaards in the clubhouse if the franchise fails to come to terms with arguably the best pitcher in baseball by Opening Day?
DeGrom is still saying "I enjoy." Present tense.
The Mets should quickly do all they can to make sure it doesn't become "I've enjoyed." Past tense.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, the ball is in your court.