jacob degrom mets
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Despite bringing Carlos Carrasco back by exercising his team option for 2023, the Mets still have several spots to fill in their starting rotation. At the moment, the only two vets taking up residence are Carrasco and Max Scherzer.

How else will New York fill it this winter? Will it be all external additions, or will they leave a spot open for David Peterson and Tylor Megill to duke it out in Spring Training? While Jacob deGrom remains a top priority for the Amazins, they’ve also either checked in on or have spoken with many other top free-agent starting pitchers.

This includes guys like Kodai Senga, Justin Verlander, Andrew Heaney, Carlos Rodon, and Jameson Taillon, to name a few. There’s growing optimism within the organization that deGrom will return to the Mets. But even if he does, general manager Billy Eppler still needs to make other moves.

Hanging out at the top of the pitching market means there is plenty of competition to deal with. The Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Yankees have also at least done their due diligence on most (or all) of the above pitchers.

The Rangers appear to be the Mets’ biggest threat to re-signing deGrom. The Yankees have also requested medicals on the right-hander. That may get some Mets fans nervous about the two-time Cy Young winner potentially moving across town. The Bombers have also checked in on Senga, a pitcher the Mets had a productive meeting with.

But during a segment of SNY’s Baseball Night in New York, MLB insider Andy Martino swung rumored momentum in the direction of Citi Field with the following statement:

I don’t think the Yankees are signing deGrom or Senga — that’s the feeling I have from reporting. I think the Mets could end up with them both.

This would be the best-case scenario for the Mets’ rotation.

Scherzer is already at the top with a $43.3 million salary for 2023. If deGrom comes back for $40-plus million, New York must find some value to fill out the remaining spots. Senga, who could command a $15 million annual salary, would be perfect to slot behind those two.

Hypothetically nabbing deGrom and Senga would also give the Mets some options. Saving some cash with a Senga signing means New York could still potentially pursue Taillon or Heaney. Or, they could go for more depth/Triple-A signings and give either Peterson or Megill a shot for the last spot.

This would be the way for New York to thread the needle of paying top dollar for elite talent while still getting some value. Oh, yea — and it’d allow them to keep pursuing some offense, whether that’s center fielder Brandon Nimmo or someone else.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.