steve cohen mets
Gregory Fisher | USA TODAY Sports

If Jacob deGrom leaves the Mets, Steve Cohen might have the perfect response.

As long as deGrom can stay healthy upon his upcoming return to the Amazins’ rotation, he is expected to opt out of his contract this winter. There has been buzz the Braves are a potential landing spot for the Florida native.

If so, Cohen might be able to target a future Hall of Famer as his replacement. The Post’s Jon Heyman took an early look at the Mets’ offseason landscape, and it included this nugget:

[J]ustin Verlander will earn a $25 million player option if he reaches 130 innings, almost a foregone conclusion, and one market expert predicts he, too, will opt out (from the Astros). With Max Scherzer on the books at $43.3 million, Verlander could try to get that much. Just a guess, but it isn’t hard to imagine Cohen making a play for Verlander.

DeGrom will be the Mets’ Plan A. The injury history certainly gives you pause, but he is five years younger than Verlander. And we know Cohen wants to elevate the franchise’s history and tradition. The chance to make deGrom a Met for life likely appeals to him.

But if deGrom wants out, Verlander would be a great consolation prize. Getting him on a high-money, short-term deal and reuniting him with Scherzer would give the Mets a terrifying one-two punch of toughness and proven postseason production. It would also be another thumb in the eye of the Yankees. Because, as we have written before, owner Hal Steinbrenner’s failure to open his checkbook in 2017 and trade for Verlander did more to cost his team a championship that fall than the Astros’ sign-stealing apparatus.

Heyman writes the Mets are looking at a “fire drill” offseason. They have a slew of pending or potential free agents, including starters Chris Bassitt, Cookie Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, as well as outfielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz. But they also have Cohen’s vast resources and desire to win.

James Kratch can be reached at

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.