The New York Mets need pitching. More than half of their 2022 rotation is hitting free agency. With only Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco entrenched into the 2023 rotation, the need for an ace is clear.
There are two older aces the Mets can consider on shorter deals. There's Justin Verlander, who just won the World Series. And of course, there's Jacob deGrom who's been a career Met and should continue to be one.
The Jacob deGrom vs. Justin Verlander debate is simple.
The Mets are interested in deGrom and Verlander. Both are older pitchers with multiple Cy Young Awards. They'd both be huge and needed additions. While both are great options, one is better than the other.
Let's start with Jacob deGrom. The 34 year old was setting the world on fire with his pitching before the injuries started. He's dealt with a variety of arm injuries in the last two seasons and has missed substantial time. He's made just 26 starts in the last two seasons combined.
While the injuries have been frustrating, he's still the best pitcher in the world when he's healthy. I think we can all agree he wasn't at his best when he came back in August, yet he struck out 102 batters in just 64.1 innings pitched while walking only eight hitters. I'd say his 12.75 K/BB ratio is something unheard of, but he had a 13.27 K/BB ratio in 2021.
He had a 1.08 ERA in the first half before missing the entire second half with injuries. deGrom not being a sure bet to make his starts every fifth day makes him hard to sign, and I get that.
Justin Verlander isn't too different from deGrom. He made one start in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His return from that was nothing short of remarkable, as he had a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts and won the Cy Young Award.
Verlander will be 40 by the time Opening Day comes around and is reportedly looking for a contract similar to the three-year $130 million Scherzer got from the Mets last season.
Verlander is an excellent pitcher, but why exactly would the Mets be willing to give him that contract but not deGrom? I can't imagine deGrom would command that much more than what Scherzer got on the open Market.
deGrom is five years younger and hasn't torn anything in the last two seasons. Pitchers are always one pitch away from needing Tommy John Surgery, but pitchers who just had it are even more vulnerable.
If the Mets are so worried about Jacob deGrom's injuries, why would they be in contact with a pitcher who just missed two seasons due to injury? I think most people would rank deGrom ahead of Verlander in terms of skill level plus we know he has what it takes to be the best pitcher in the game in New York.
The Mets are deciding between two pitchers with injury histories. Verlander has made two more starts in the last two seasons than deGrom. Verlander is also five years older than Jake. If you're deciding between two starters who have dealt with injuries shouldn't you go with the better pitcher who's younger and has been a Met? It seems very clear-cut to me. What do you think