Mets prioritizing wrong free agents could lead Dodgers to Jacob deGrom
By Adam Weinrib
The free-spending New York Mets are about to experience a remarkable amount of turnover between 2022 and 2023, unless they decide to strap on their boots and use their financial capital to run back the exact roster that flamed out in last season’s Wild Card round against the San Diego Padres.
It’s a shame, too. That Dodgers-Mets NLDS seemed like it would’ve been fun.
For better or worse, New York is still tied to Max Scherzer, whose gas seemed drained by the time the postseason rolled around. Starling Marte, who fought injury and changed the lineup this past season, will be returning as well. Players scheduled for departure, however, include Chris Bassitt, Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo and Jacob deGrom, among several key depth pieces.
The Mets must improve on 2022, and they should rely on a few outside hires to do so. Players who can provide more pop in key moments instead of players who are ringing endorsements for the diminishing value of low exit velocities. But in revamping the roster, they have to be careful not to overlook several key players who helped build the fabric that made them great last season.
Players like Diaz, who feels like a luxury item for most teams, but whom the Mets can afford for security purposes. Players like Nimmo, the OBP monster who finally stayed healthy and mastered center field defensively last season.
And players like deGrom, who — wait, who the Mets are not prioritizing this offseason?
Dodgers Rumors: Why aren’t Mets prioritizing Jacob deGrom?
Important note: “Not giving up on” is a pretty negative tone to frame a report about a team’s chances on a particular free agent in. Regardless of whether or not deGrom will be heavily pursued by the Mets this offseason, it’s notable that he falls in a separate bucket from Diaz and Nimmo, the *priority* internal free agents.
The Mets may not go down without a fight, but it seems they’re intent on actively inviting the Dodgers, Rangers, and Braves into one.
The only segment of Martino’s reporting that addresses this so-called “prioritizing” — in an article that’s otherwise about the Mets exploring trades for Diaz’s brother Alexis of the Reds — reads thusly:
"The Mets are prioritizing Diaz and Brandon Nimmo above all other internal free agents, and expect to maintain open and consistent communication with Diaz once free agency begins the morning after the conclusion of the World Series."
deGrom will be a short-term risk for whichever team ultimately signs him. Now 34, he made just 11 regular-season starts in 2022 after 15 starts (of unparalleled quality, posting a 1.08 ERA) in 2021.
Healthy, there’s absolutely no one like deGrom, even at his advancing age. But which big-market teams will be willing to stomach his health while betting on his upside?
The Rangers are showing reported interest, but is there really a guarantee they compete for a title in the two-year window of a deGrom deal? The Braves would be dealing the Mets a gut punch if they persisted, but that connection feels mostly like fan fiction at this point.
That leaves the Mets and the Dodgers, who must make a top-tier splash in Walker Buehler’s place instead of relying on smoke-and-mirrors breaking ball twirlers like Tyler Anderson to throw their season’s most important games.
If the Mets won’t prioritize their incumbent superstar, the Dodgers will be happy to oblige.