MLB’s postseason is in full swing, but a scorching Hot Stove is on the horizon this winter. After all, two of the game’s best players — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and Mets ace Jacob deGrom — are both likely hitting the open market.
Will they stay with their current clubs or find a new place to call home in 2023? That’s as good as anyone’s guess at this point. There’s one storyline that’s particularly juicy, though. Would Judge leave the Yankees to play for the Mets? Could the Yankees convince deGrom to go across town to pitch in the Bronx?
It’s not likely, says Jon Heyman of the New York Post. He brought a handful of good reasons to the table to explain each, too.
Aaron Judge had the ultimate bet-on-yourself kind of season. After rejecting a $213.5 million extension in spring training, all the outfielder did was nearly win a triple crown while hitting 62 home runs to become the American League’s new single-season home run king. Heyman spoke to a number of MLB executives and agents, and the consensus was that he upped the total value of his next contract into the $300 million range.
The Yankees can afford that, and the feeling is he’ll stay in the Bronx. But Mets owner Steve Cohen can also afford a large price tag, and his squad could use some more power in its lineup.
Heyman shared three reasons why this probably won’t happen:
- They think it’s unlikely Judge would make the switch from the Yankees to the Mets.
- New York has seven impactful free agents of its own to think about this winter, with hopes of retaining several of them.
- The Mets don’t want to start a war with the Yankees.
A good ol’ fashioned bidding war between the Mets and Bronx Bombers would be quite entertaining. However, it seems like these two teams have a decent relationship at the moment, as Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner supported Cohen in buying the Mets in the first place.
Would the Mets want to upset that balance? Heyman gets the feeling from people around the league that they don’t.
But what about Jacob deGrom? Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler likely have no idea what the starting pitcher wants for his future just yet. He did say back in March that it’d be cool to stay a Met for his whole career. But with him likely opting out of his contract and electing free agency, anything can happen.
Would the Yankees swoop in to pluck deGrom from the Mets’ hands and pair him with Gerrit Cole atop their rotation? Heyman poured cold water on fans dreaming about that, too.
It’s certainly possible because as a veteran pitcher in his mid-30s, deGrom wants to play for a contender. A league source told Heyman that the Yankees aren’t planning a deGrom pursuit, though. Why? Well, the feeling is that if he doesn’t stay in Queens, it’s probably because he either doesn’t like New York or has grown tired of playing in that particular market.
So, watching the Mets and Yankees swap Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom this offseason probably isn’t going to happen. You’d have to imagine that their chances of retaining their stars are good, but we’ll see what transpires once the World Series is over and free agency opens.