Potential Destinations for Jacob deGrom in Free Agency
Jacob deGrom will become a free agent this offseason. He is one of the best players in baseball, and several teams will attempt to sign him this offseason. His decision on where he plays for the next few seasons will have a massive impact on the entire MLB.
As a result, deGrom’s free agency decision will be one of the biggest storylines of this year’s MLB offseason. Below are a few of the teams that could attempt to sign deGrom this winter.
New York Mets
The most obvious contender to sign deGrom is the New York Mets, where deGrom has spent his entire professional career so far. During his career in New York, deGrom has the won Rookie of the Year award and two CY Youngs.
So far, during Steve Cohen’s tenure as the owner of the Mets, the franchise has been willing to sign players to major contracts. Last offseason, the Mets completed deals with Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and most notably, Max Scherzer.
Those free agency signings resulted in a 101-61 season for the Mets in 2022, and an appearance in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. New York accomplished that, while deGrom only made 11 starts and pitched 64.1 innings.
If the Mets are able to resign deGrom, he and Scherzer could combine to form one of the best starting rotations in the MLB, something New York expected this season before deGrom was injured. It would also help the team continue to compete with the Atlanta Braves.
It is hard to imagine deGrom playing for the Braves after playing nine seasons for the division-rival Mets, but Atlanta reportedly has an interest in signing him this summer. deGrom was born in DeLand, Florida, about six and a half hours away from Atlanta, and attended college in DeLand at Stetson University.
If deGrom does want to move closer to his hometown, the Braves could be an organization that he could choose to sign with. Atlanta won the NL East this season despite trailing the New York Mets for much of the season.
The Braves are already one of the best teams in the MLB, and deGrom would improve the team even further and could help give them an opportunity to win their second World Series in three seasons next year.
While deGrom signing with the Braves is possible, it is rare for players who reach free agency to sign with one of their former organization’s main rivals. However, there are recent examples; after Jason Heyward was traded to the Cardinals in 2015, he signed with the Cubs that offseason, and Manny Machado signed a long-term contract with the San Diego Padres after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018.
This offseason, the Chicago Cubs are expected to attempt to sign several free agents. Chicago finished the season third in the NL Central with a 74-88 record, but the team had a 39-31 record in the second half of the season. As a result, there is hope in Chicago that the Cubs are exiting their rebuilding period and could compete to make the playoffs next season.
Last offseason, deGrom’s former teammate Marcus Stroman signed with the Cubs. However, the Cubs finished the season with a team ERA+ of 103 despite Storman performing well in his first season with the team.
Improving the team’s pitching staff and pitching depth is one of the Cubs’ goals this offseason, and deGrom would certainly improve the team’s pitching staff. However, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer has repeatedly stressed that the organization wants to maintain its financial flexibility this offseason, and Chicago might not offer deGrom a long enough contract to agree to a deal with him this offseason.
San Francisco Giants
In 2021, the San Francisco Giants unexpectedly won 107 games and the NL West, but this season the team didn’t have the same success. San Francisco finished the season with an 81-81 record, third-best in the division.
Entering this offseason, the Giants should have the financial flexibility to pursue several free agents. Singing deGrom could be a way for the organization to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in the NL West.
However, during Farhan Zaidi’s tenure as the team’s President of Baseball Operations, the Giants have attempted to avoid long-term contracts with pitchers. Similarly to the Cubs, this could result in the Giants choosing not to offer a long enough contract to interest deGrom this offseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most successful organizations in baseball in recent memory. During this season, the Dodgers won 111 games, the most in baseball, before being eliminated in the National League Division Series by the Padres.
However, multiple members of the Dodgers’ pitching staff were injured this season, and the team might choose to improve its pitching staff this offseason. Despite the injuries Los Angeles had this season, the Dodgers still had the best ERA in the National League, 2.80, with the Atlanta Braves in second place with a 3.46 team ERA.
Considering the injuries deGrom has had over the past few seasons, the Dodgers could choose not to sign him this offseason. However, over the past few offseasons, Los Angeles has attempted to sign most major free agents, and they will likely continue that this offseason.
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