Mets could be taking first step in Jacob deGrom contract talks

PORT ST. LUCIE — The Mets were expected to speak in person with Jacob deGrom’s representatives Thursday in a possible first step toward the pitcher receiving a long-term contract from the club.

DeGrom’s lead agent, Jeff Berry, was in town, according to sources, and planned to meet with deGrom and speak with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and possibly team COO Jeff Wilpon.

Berry, who lives about three hours away in the Tampa area, had dinner with another CAA client, Tim Tebow, on Wednesday.

DeGrom is in the process of getting acquainted with Berry, a source indicated.

Berry had met with deGrom in person on just two or three occasions before Thursday, 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.

Until October deGrom was represented by Van Wagenen, who departed CAA — where he served as co-head of the agency’s baseball division — to lead the Mets’ front office. 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.

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.

As deGrom’s agent, Van Wagenen last season said the Mets should give the pitcher a long-term contract or trade him. Since becoming the Mets GM, Van Wagenen has avoided such specific talk other than to say the club is interested in extending the relationship with the pitcher.

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