Jacob deGrom struck out 11 Atlanta Braves batters on Friday night but because he allowed three solo home runs and the New York Mets only scored twice in their 5-2 loss, he took the L. It was an all-too-familiar-scenario but with a twist.
deGrom has not been himself over the last four starts. He gave up 3 earned runs to the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and now the Braves. In his start versus the lowly Oakland Athletics, he gave up 5 of them.
Most pitchers of his caliber will go through a stretch like this. However, we haven’t seen deGrom struggle to this extent since maybe 2017. He’s still dominating at times—striking out 10-13 batters in each of those games mentioned with the exception of Oakland. The tide seems to be turning on how fans feel about him. Media members like Mike Francesa don't help either.
Jacob deGrom is probably as fed up with the Mets offense as we are
deGrom was adamant in the offseason that he was planning to use his opt-out after this season. It makes a lot of sense for him to do so. The problem is—you shouldn’t just say it.
deGrom came off as arrogant and a little less Mets-like than many fans wanted. After missing so much time in 2021, it’s not a great look to already declare yourself a free agent when there’s a whole year left to play. It’s understandable why some fans were already rubbed the wrong way by him. Now with his far more human performances in September, it’s becoming easier to let him go.
What’s amazing is that deGrom hasn’t been horrific in those starts aside from the one against the A’s. The Cubs and Braves appearances would be considered quality starts. Against Pittsburgh, he had 13 strikeouts and the Mets to win even though he was handed a no-decision.
He definitely hears the noise. It’s impossible to avoid the comments, too. For such a simple man with an obvious plan this winter, it wouldn’t be such a surprise to see him bolt to a destination with less scrutiny and attention as long as he’s getting the money he is owed.
Someone like the Arizona Diamondbacks—a ball club on the rise—could be a fit. They’ve thrown money at Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner in the past. The Diamondbacks were an escape oasis for those two quiet and more country pitchers who left the spotlight of California for the nearby desert.
Whatever happens with deGrom in the end, he definitely feels the frustration, too. It can’t always all be on him. For far too long, it has been.