The deal was agreed to Friday before the pitcher and team were to exchange proposed salaries in arbitration. It also set a mark for a pitcher eligible for arbitration for the third time.
The $9.6 million raise broke the record set just hours earlier by Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who got a $9.5 million bump to $20 million for 2019. Two raises of $9 million or more for second-, third- and fourth-time arbitration-eligible players never had happened before Friday.
Fellow Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard agreed to a $6 million deal, doubling his salary.
DeGrom led the majors with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings and was selected to his second All-Star Game. He was fifth in MVP voting after receiving little run support on a fourth-place squad.
The right-hander went 10-9 with 269 strikeouts in 32 remarkably consistent starts for a team that finished 77-85. The 30-year-old can become a free agent after the 2020 season if the Mets don’t sign their electric ace to a multiyear contract by then.
New York sounds open to a long-term deal under new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who was deGrom’s agent before switching sides and taking the front-office job. Talks could take place soon, although Van Wagenen has said he’ll recuse himself from negotiations involving deGrom to avoid a conflict of interest.
Syndergaard went 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 25 starts last season but had some trouble staying healthy again. The right-hander logged only 30 1/3 innings in 2017 because of a torn lat muscle. Last year he missed time with a finger injury and an illness, finishing with 155 strikeouts and 39 walks in 154 1/3 innings.
The 26-year-old Syndergaard, an All-Star in 2016, won five of his last six decisions and pitched the first two complete games of his career in September, including a shutout on the final day of the season.
Syndergaard’s name was often mentioned in trade talks early this offseason, with the Padres and Marlins among the teams said to be seriously interested. Van Wagenen didn’t rule out such a move at first, but eventually indicated the Mets plan to keep Thor at the front of a stingy rotation that is the foundation of the team.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.