After winning 101 games in the regular season and flaming out in the postseason, the New York Mets are back at work again, attempting to retool the roster and win the franchise’s first world series championship since 1986. With several big-name free agents, an open spot as President of Baseball Operations on the line and a few key decisions with the team’s young players will lead the conversation for the Mets.
The biggest decision, however, will be what the Mets will do with Jacob deGrom.
Widely expected to opt out of the final year of his five-year, $147.5 million contract, deGrom is viewed as the best pitcher on the market, and it’s hard to argue. Despite last season’s injury, the 34-year-old finished with a 5-4 record, 2.24 ERA, 2.13 FIP, and a 2.2 fWAR in 64 innings. New York, will have the first chance to re-sign deGrom, but the question will have to be: Should the Mets re-sign Jacob deGrom?
Despite his advanced age and expected salary earned, the Mets should make Jacob deGrom a priority and bring him back this offseason.
Let’s start with the negatives. deGrom has missed parts of the last two seasons, largely with arm issues and at 34-years-old, that doesn’t seem set to change. deGrom, who stated that he’s opting out as early as spring training, is also looking to make big money, the kind of money the Mets already invested in Max Scherzer. Overall, there is an argument for the Mets to walk away if the ask gets out of hand.
And no team has more big name free agents than the Mets. New York arguably has three of the top free agents in baseball between deGrom, Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz. Add Chris Bassitt, a top 15 free agent and Taijuan Walker and New York has plenty of work to do this offseason. If New York decides to once again go quantity over quality in free agency, spreading the potential $45 million for deGrom would be the way to go.
Regardless, let’s talk about the three reasons why the Mets should re-sign deGrom.
1. The Mets are in win-now mode
Losing to the San Diego Padres in the wild card round completely hampered the fact that the Mets won 101 games last season. New York won 101 games with just 11 starts from deGrom, 23 starts from Max Scherzer and other injuries. Tylor Megill missed a large portion of the season due to injury, James McCann broke his hand and yet, the Mets won 101 games.
Even with a litany of free agents set to hit the market, New York will still keep one of the best power hitters in baseball (Pete Alonso), the National League batting champion (Jeff McNeil), a player who will finished top 5 in MVP voting (Francisco Lindor) and a future hall-of-famer (Scherzer). Add two top 15 prospects in Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty and New York has plenty of talent to work with before making any big moves this offseason.
And even though Mets general manager Billy Eppler made some innocuous comments about New York’s offseason approach, owner Steven Cohen must spend to maintain the team’s success for now; whether that means re-signing deGrom and others or pursuing other talented players. It’s better to work with the talented player you know, rather than the one you don’t.
The Mets are going to return a large amount of talent returning and should be back in the race for the National League East, but so will the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and the rest of the postseason participants. That means, a returning deGrom could be the difference between getting the job done or ending up back in the wile card round.