We argued earlier this week that Jacob deGrom shouldn’t be at the top of the Mets’ free agency priority list. There’s no denying how great deGrom has been for the Mets, but there is a significant case against signing a 35-year old pitcher to a $40 million-plus deal on an annual average. That’s what he’ll likely command on the open market, and it’s a price many teams will be willing to pay. If it’s not ultimately with the Mets, here are four teams that might snatch deGrom away from Queens, where he’s played since 2014.
Dodgers. If anytime in baseball is going to shell out the big bucks to get a risky, yet big arm, it’s the Dodgers. An early NLDS exit and losing Walker Buehler for most of this season might motivate LA to sign their next big arm. They’ve never been shy about spending whatever it takes to win, and adding deGrom into a rotation that had four guys with a sub-3.00 ERA this year would somehow make the Dodgers even better than their 110-win season. deGrom’s proved he can pitch under the bright city lights, making LA a natural fit for the two-time Cy Young winner.
Braves. They have already been rumored as a contender to sign deGrom, and after their shocking fall in the NLDS, they’ll be even more motivated to enter 2023 with an unstoppable pitching staff. deGrom would be the old man in a rotation featuring rising young stars like Spencer Strider and Kyle Wright, bringing a sense of veteran leadership Atlanta could surely benefit from. For the Mets, this move would hurt the most, as you never want to see a star player move onto a division rival. But the Braves have clearly shown they have no problem throwing out money to lock up top talent. Spending most of his career on mediocre Mets teams, deGrom might see Atlanta as a fresh opportunity to join a motivated group looking for their second title in three years.
Yankees. Of course they have be included here. The Evil Empire – as known in the Mets’ part of town – might not be well liked by many, but they know how to bring in the best players. Money is obviously not a question here, and neither is the question mark of some players not being able to thrive in the pressure of the Bronx. The Yankees begin play in the ALCS this week, so they’re already one of the league’s best teams without deGrom’s talents. Bringing him as a 1-2 punch with Gerrit Cole? The Yankees would almost definitely leapfrog the Astros as the AL favorites in 2023.
Mariners. A dark horse team that could make a run for deGrom is everyone’s favorite cinderella story of 2022. They’ve hardly been a top-tier destination for marquee free agents in recent years, but after breaking their playoff drought this year, the Mariners are building one of the best teams in baseball. The rotation already features another former Cy Young winner in Robbie Ray, and they brought in Luis Castillo from Cincinnati to beef up the pitching staff. With Chris Flexen (3.73 ERA) and Paul Sewald (20 saves) going from subpar Mets to success stories in the Emerald City, Seattle has a knack for finding talent in otherwise undervalued players. Not that deGrom is undervalued by any means, but a change of scenery to the Pacific Northwest might even keep Jake off the injured list for the first time since 2020.
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