Even New York Mets fans know they were given a gift when Jacob deGrom signed his five-year, $137.5 million extension back in 2019. That’s insane value for arguably the best pitcher in the game.
And even though he has yet to pitch this year due to a shoulder injury, the right-hander will more than likely opt out of his deal after the 2022 season to earn even more money due to the demand for starting pitching across MLB.
When that does happen, and if the Mets can’t retain him due to higher demand/potential payroll issues, might the Los Angeles Dodgers benefit from the buzz surrounding deGrom’s free agency?
As we talked about previously, LA is actually in an extremely favorable position to sign a number of high-profile names this coming November if they wish to do so.
With team options for players like Justin Turner and Max Muncy, as well as the ability to non-tender Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers could be looking at a more flexible payroll situation and a very different roster in 2023.
Looking at the starting rotation specifically, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson are all on one-year deals and Trevor Bauer likely will never be seen again. Julio Urías, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will still be here, but Urías and Buehler are approaching free agency relatively quickly (after 2023 and 2024, respectively).
In an effort to bolster the pitching staff and remain among the top contenders, could the Dodgers consider deGrom on a short-term, high AAV contract, kind of like what the Mets did with Max Scherzer this past offseason?
Dodgers rumors: Could LA land Jacob deGrom in offseason?
The Dodgers have $89.7 million in guaranteed money committed to the payroll in 2023. That number balloons to $200 million if all contract options are exercised and everybody is paid in arbitration, but don’t expect that to happen. LA has a number of top prospects knocking at the door that could fill voids at a more cost-effective price.
And if you’re paying for anything nowadays, it’s starting pitching. The Dodgers would (likely) gladly shell out the necessary money to land deGrom since they’re one of the few teams able to offer him the deal he’ll want … especially if they have considerable room to spend by letting some mainstays depart.
There are certainly other teams that might be in the mix, such as the Padres, Yankees, Astros, Braves, Angels, Giants and Red Sox (to name a few, based on their 2023 payroll figures), but the Dodgers notoriously “go for it,” as evidenced by their moves to secure Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, and even Bauer these last few years.
Additionally, the Mets have slowly watched their 10.5-game lead in the NL East dwindle to 2.5. If they endure a classic “Mets” collapse, deGrom might prefer to seek greener pastures where it’s a bit less stressful to secure division supremacy.