A tie — or close to it — goes to the Mets. 

That, at least, is the organizational belief as Mets brass consider Jacob deGrom and whether the ace right-hander will return next season. 

A free agent after opting out from his contract, deGrom is seeking a new deal that would position him as MLB’s highest-paid pitcher, ahead of the Mets’ Max Scherzer. The Mets have received enough indications from deGrom’s camp, according to a source, that they believe the two-time Cy Young award winner wants to stay, provided there isn’t a significant discrepancy in offers. 

But can the team and player get on the same wavelength, and how long will the Mets wait for deGrom as they look to fill their rotation for next season? The high end of the free-agent market for starting pitchers includes names such as Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon and Japanese ace Kodai Senga. In addition, the Mets have to decide how aggressively to pursue Chris Bassitt, a free agent who was their most consistent starter last season. Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco are the only full-time members of the 2022 rotation under contract for next year, with David Peterson and Tylor Megill possibilities for increased roles. 

The Mets appear willing to give deGrom a relatively short contract that could include options for additional seasons based on reaching certain incentives. The Mets do not view a four- or five-year deal (and even three years guaranteed might be stretching it) as prudent investment on a 34-year-old pitcher who has missed significant portions of the last two seasons with injuries. Scherzer’s contract with the Mets holds a $43.3 million average annual value, and the team could be willing to surpass that figure for deGrom. But if deGrom receives longer-term offers, the Mets may turn in a different direction.