Time For New York Mets To Move On From Jacob deGrom
If the New York Mets want to be a perennial playoff team, then they have to make decisions with their head and not their heart. Faced with the prospect of paying their free-agent, ace right-hander, Jake deGrom for the next 3 or 4 years, at $40 plus million per, Amazin's general manager Billy Eppler had better think long and hard about the investments that he makes over the next year, as Mets president-in-waiting David Stearns bides his time, collecting checks from the Milwaukee Brewers and making notes on his future employees.
When healthy, Jake deGrom is the best pitcher on earth. However, over the last 3 seasons, #48 has only taken the mound 36 times. Yes, he could have started more in 2020, if not for the COVID shortened year but who's to say that he wouldn't have broken down and gotten hurt. Yes, deGrom started 30 or more games four straight seasons up until 2019 but that is 3 full seasons ago and his arm is older and owns more scar tissue. 12 starts a year doesn't cut it for $40 million.
If Jake deGrom didn't opt out of his contract, I would be thrilled to take another run at it this year with the deGrom/Scherzer two-headed monster at the front of the rotation. But the 2-time Cy Young Award winner opted out and now Billy Eppler has to decide if signing deGrom for 3 or 4 years is a prudent investment. I think not. The Mets have other needs that they could fill with free-agents given the $40 million-a-year being put aside for deGrom. The blue and orange need another power-hitter. Steve Cohen's team needs more starting pitching besides deGrom and significant middle-inning bullpen help. Cohen is willing to spend but he isn't going to throw money away. Betting on Jacob deGrom to give you 25+ starts per year for the next 4 years, could be close to a money-chuck.
deGrom has brought New York Mets fans a ton of terrific memories and he has been one of the best pitchers on any given night that many have ever seen. However, given his health history and the needs of the 2023 squad, Steve Cohen would be well-served moving on from the fan-favorite, if the price is too high. If Jake wants to come back on a team-friendly deal, then he always has a home in New York.
It is time for Steve Cohen to take the Mets to the next step. The Amazin's need to build a sustained team to go deep into the playoffs and really compete for a spot in the World Series. This year was fun winning 101 games. Now it's time to get to the NLCS or the season should be considered a bust. It would be great for the Mets to have deGrom in 2023 and beyond but getting stuck with a bad contract for 3 years isn't worth it. The next few weeks will be interesting.