Jacob deGrom currently isn’t a member of the Mets, and that feels weird. Hearing reports of him engaging with other teams interested in signing him away from New York is even weirder. But thankfully, watching the right-hander leave Flushing in favor of Atlanta doesn’t appear to be likely.
As deGrom begins testing free agency for the first time in his career, there were rumblings the Braves would make a run at the Florida native. It’s been backed up in a couple of ways, too. Jim Bowden of The Athletic is predicting Atlanta will sign deGrom to a two-year, $90 million deal (with an opt-out after Year 1). Andy Martino of SNY also reported Atlanta and the Texas Rangers as the two biggest threats to sign the two-time Cy Young winner away from the Mets.
We know the Rangers are very interested and motivated to make a big splash on a top-tier starting pitcher. But according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the chances of Atlanta making a sincere run at deGrom is unlikely:
Two other things that are highly unlikely for the Braves: The signing of deGrom or a shortstop other than Dansby Swanson. If the Braves cannot keep Swanson, they probably will be out of the picture for Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts, all of whom figure to be more expensive. Which is why president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos at the GM meetings mentioned Orlando Arcia and Vaughn Grissom as internal options.
No player currently with the Braves will earn more than $22 million over the course of his contract, seemingly creating the flexibility for a major expenditure. But the Braves are reluctant to enter into a deal with any player who takes up too high a percentage of their payroll, knowing in future seasons the salaries of their young players will rise.
None of this is surprising. We talked about how the Braves seemed like an unlikely landing spot last week. The thought of installing him on that roster is tantalizing, but Atlanta’s rotation is pretty much set. If the club had a legitimate interest in deGrom, general manager Alex Anthopoulos probably wouldn’t have extended Charlie Morton for 2023 to the tune of $20 million.
The Mets are most certainly not out of the woods yet when it comes to retaining their ace. However, early indications are looking like it could be a two-team competition between New York and Texas. There’s still plenty of time for others to join the party, though.
Regardless of what happens from here, it’s a little bit of a relief that deGrom heading to the Braves seems unlikely. The last thing Mets fans need if the right-hander doesn’t return is to continually see him wearing the uniform of a hated National League East foe.