NEW YORK -- The Mets insist they're willing to talk about long-term deals with their young starting pitchers. And Jacob deGrom, at least, says he's prepared to listen.
"I'm a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that," deGrom told the New York Post this week at Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla. "You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It's something I'd have to look into and make sure I agree with it.
"I haven't thought that much about it, and I have to talk to my agents and stuff and look at the numbers and decide what was favorable."
Unlike Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, deGrom was never a top prospect coming through the Minors. Because of that and a year missed due to Tommy John surgery, he did not break into the Majors until age 26. Now 27, deGrom won't be eligible for free agency until after his 32nd birthday.
That may give the Mets pause in their desire to buy out one or more of his free-agent years. But it also gives deGrom plenty of reason to listen. Entering camp this season, he profiles as perhaps their top starting pitcher, after going 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 205 strikeouts last summer. deGrom made his first All-Star team and finished seventh in National League Cy Young Award voting.
Earlier this month, general manager Sandy Alderson spoke about the team's desire to lock up one or more of its young starting pitchers, though the industry perception is that Harvey -- in part because of agent Scott Boras' longtime philosophy against it -- is not a realistic candidate for a contract extension. Matz may be too great of an injury risk at this point in his career, making deGrom and Syndergaard the most likely candidates for an extension. But Alderson spoke to the team's ability -- financially, at least -- to lock up all of its young starting pitchers.
"I think it could happen," the GM said. "It's a lot of money, and you might have to look at other aspects of your roster -- that's where the farm system comes into play as well -- but I don't want to foreclose any possibilities."
Still, Alderson also cautioned against growing too optimistic regarding extensions. The team attempted to sign first baseman Lucas Duda to a team-friendly deal last spring, but it could not finalize the type of deal it has completed in the past with pitcher Jon Niese and outfielder Juan Lagares.
"Sometimes we have a habit -- we as an organization and fans as well -- of thinking about the guys we have now but thinking more about when we're going to lose them than enjoying the moment," Alderson said. "That moment hopefully lasts two, three, four, five years."