Can the Mets pay 2 starters $40-plus million a year? Billy Eppler answers

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How much are the New York Mets willing to pay?

Jacob deGrom opted out of his contract Monday in order to test the waters of free agency and get a sense of what that right arm is worth. The ace made $27.5 million with the Mets this year. His teammate, Max Scherzer, is the highest paid pitcher in MLB history, making $43.3 million per year.

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Would the Mets be willing to pay deGrom something similar? Billy Eppler was asked at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas how difficult it would be, if difficult at all, to have two $40-plus million starters on the same team. His answer, via a clip tweeted by New York Post:

“It would be a heavy allocation, to say the least. But you’d look to solve other areas of your roster either internally, if that can be done, or via trade market maybe where you don’t have to pay the free agent rate so to speak. But that’s a needle that can be thread, but you’d have to be mindful of that.”

SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Tuesday that the Mets may have a limit when it comes to what they’ll shell out for deGrom:

There has been preliminary contact between the Mets and Jacob deGrom’s camp, but nothing that has progressed very far yet. That’s the word

The Mets want DeGrom back, but if another team offers, say, 4 years at a very high number, Mets would be reluctant to go there.

On Tuesday, Eppler updated contract talks with deGrom. Per MLB.com:

“I think there’s a good deal of interest there on his part,” Eppler said. “That was articulated a number of times through the season and reiterated in our most recent conversation.” … Asked specifically to gauge the chance of a reunion, Eppler replied that “it’s hard to handicap things like that,” before adding that deGrom’s interest “was articulated a number of times through the season and reiterated in our most recent conversation.”

Eppler also said the Mets will be “transparent” with deGrom “every step of the way through this.”

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DeGrom’s longevity and health needs to be considered in any negotiation. The 34-year-old has dealt with injuries that have kept him to making just 38 starts in the last three seasons.

MORE MLB:

Mets may reunite with ex-outfielder, report says

Mets claim left-handed reliever off waivers

Ex-Yankees pitcher makes surprising decision to return to Red Sox

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Bridget Hyland may be reached at [email protected].

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