PORT ST. LUCIE — Could the Mets be preparing to talk turkey with Jacob deGrom?
The pitcher’s lead agent, Jeff Berry, was in town Thursday, according to sources, and planning to meet with deGrom, as the reigning National League Cy Young award winner seeks a long-term contract with the club.
Berry, who lives about three hours away in the Tampa area, had dinner with another CAA client, Tim Tebow, on Wednesday.
DeGrom is still in the process of getting acquainted with Berry, and a source indicated it’s possible the agent is merely in town to check in with his star client, but it wouldn’t be surprising if a meeting was also arranged with team brass.
Until October, deGrom was represented by Brodie Van Wagenen, who departed CAA — where he served as co-head of the agency’s baseball division — to become Mets general manager. DeGrom was heavily recruited by rival agencies afterward, but chose to stay with CAA out of loyalty, despite the fact he didn’t have a previous relationship with Berry.
A source indicated Berry has met with deGrom in person on only two or three occasions, most recently at the pitcher’s home in Florida before spring training to outline a negotiating strategy. Among the decisions reached was to set Opening Day as the deadline to negotiate a potential long-term deal.
The 30-year-old deGrom, who is under club control through 2020, recently indicated he would discuss with Berry whether he should limit his workload this season — to preserve him for potential free agency — if a new deal isn’t agreed upon by Opening Day.
DeGrom will earn $17 million this season after agreeing on a one-year deal with the club last month to avoid arbitration. The raise deGrom received — he earned $7.4 million last season — was the largest in history among arbitration-eligible players.
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