The end of the New York Mets season could not have been more emotionally painful to watch. The veteran team that had compiled 101 wins in the regular season failed to generate enough offense to get past the San Diego Padres. To add insult to injury, Max Scherzer had his worst start of the year, and Chris Bassitt pitched horribly in game three, allowing the Padres to end what was once a promising season for the Mets.
Now the Mets face a tough winter, with many of their key players this season due to hit free agency. One of those players is none other than their ace Jacob deGrom. Although he has a player option for 2023, it is expected that he will opt out and test free agency.
Normally, when a player of deGrom’s caliber hits free agency, it is expected that a huge, exorbitant contract follows. However, deGrom is not your standard ace pitcher. At 34 years old, deGrom is still pitching at a high level despite an underwhelming end to his season. Over the past three seasons, deGrom has compiled a 2.05 ERA over 224 1/3 innings in that three-year stretch. His strikeout rate has been among the best for starting pitchers (42.4%), and his walk rate has been consistently above-average (4.5%).
The Mets will have a tough decision to make on Jacob deGrom.
However, deGrom also has serious durability issues, and that undoubtedly could influence what type of contract he is able to get. It also makes it difficult to gauge what the market rate for his services will be. Over the past three years, deGrom has missed significant time each season, and his lack of availability was an issue for a Mets team that often battled injury woes in their starting rotation.
The Mets are going to be very careful about awarding deGrom a huge contract in free agency. Given his injury history, deGrom is a very high risk, very high reward pitcher. The Mets also have numerous holes to fill in free agency, and starting pitching is clearly one of them. They may be reluctant to pool in a significant amount of money for one pitcher considering that they will have at least three starting pitcher spots to fill.
As a result, deGrom’s future in Queens is murky, but his chances at staying in New York are slightly better. The New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers are all teams that make sense for the right hander and are rumored to have interest in him. Some sources have indicated that deGrom may value living close to his Florida home. If that is indeed what deGrom values most, then the Atlanta Braves would make the most sense for him, which would be a tough pill for Mets fans to swallow if that comes to fruition.