In an interesting examination, Joel Sherman of the New York Post makes the case that the Mets ought to take offers on ace Jacob deGrom. He doesn’t exactly advocate a swap — the club ought to move him only “if the return is so overwhelming that they can’t say no,” in Sherman’s estimation — but does suggest it’s a realistic possibility worth pursuing.
That’d be quite an about-face given that deGrom only just inked an extension with the New York organization over the offseason. It really doesn’t kick in until after the present season. Nominally a four-year, $120.5MM pact, the value of the extension was reduced significantly by deferrals.
That is a lot of coin for a pitcher who recently reached his 31st birthday, though deGrom is not just any hurler. He hasn’t been as dominant as he was last year, but that’s due mostly to regression in the home run department and a few shifts in sequencing fortune. Through 110 innings, he carries a 3.27 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. All the skills remain evident: deGrom has actually boosted his average fastball velocity to over 97 mph and is maintaining a swinging-strike rate in range of 15%.
There are some obvious barriers to a deal, as Sherman notes, beginning with Mets ownership. Even if the Wilpons are willing to authorize a franchise-altering swap, deGrom would have his say given his full no-trade rights.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t fascinating to consider the possibilities. At the moment, this year’s trade market is led by decidedly less-valuable hurlers such as Madison Bumgarner (who hasn’t lived up to his storied past of late), Marcus Stroman (often excellent but not consistently dominant), and deGrom’s teammate Zack Wheeler (ditto). deGrom is unquestionably one of the game’s very best pitchers; controlling him for four years at big but not eye-watering money would hold plenty of appeal.
There’s certainly some sense in the notion that the Mets ought to be willing to hit the re-set button. The offseason moves of new GM Brodie Van Wagenen have not hit the mark thus far; neither did those of his predecessor Sandy Alderson in the winter prior. Keeping deGrom while dealing only rental pieces would presumably mean a third-straight offseason re-tooling effort on the heels of a disappointing season.
On the other hand, the Mets would find themselves in a funny spot without deGrom. They still owe big money to players such as Yoenis Cespedes, Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie, Wilson Ramos, and Jeurys Familia. They’ll be paying another arb raise to Noah Syndergaard, unless he’s also made available. (That would arguably make quite a bit of sense, whether or not deGrom is shopped; perhaps the underperforming Thor deserves his own poll.)
The situation obviously does not admit of straightforward solutions. How do you think the Mets should handle it? (Poll link for app users.)