Brandon Nimmo's back! And Jacob deGrom's Texas presser was hard to watch
The Mets bring back the guy they couldn't let leave, sign a key reliever, and watch their former ace get introduced in Arlington
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
The Mets re-signed center fielder Brandon Nimmo to a eight year $162 million contract (Passan)
A few minutes after the Nimmo news, word broke that the Mets were also signing reliever David Robertson to a one year $10 million pact (Passan)
Despite adding over $30 million to their 2023 payroll in a matter of minutes the Mets are not out on Kodai Senga (Martino)
The Rangers introduced Jacob deGrom in a press conference that was hard to watch for Mets fans
Jacob deGrom dealt his Mets legacy a blow in cringeworthy Texas introduction✍🏻
Five days after signing a massive free-agent contract with the Texas Rangers that for a while sent Mets Twitter into a tailspin, Jacob deGrom took the podium in Arlington to officially be introduced by his new team.
And unfortunately, the more he talked the more he seemed to alienate and frustrate Met fans who had absolutely adored and worshipped him for eight years.
The right-hander continually spoke glowingly about the Rangers blowing him away with the vision they had, that his new team is building something special, and that bringing a World Series title to Texas is the goal.
Unfortunately, those words rang incredibly hallow and superficial.
Of course the goal every player on every team has this time of year is to win the World Series. And honestly, I would expect nothing less from deGrom at this press conference. He said all the right things about the Rangers, Rangers GM Chris Young, ownership, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and so on and so forth.
But to say the Rangers are “building something special” really stood out to me as absurd given the context. And please don’t take that as an overbearing shot at Texas or its fans. But let’s dive into it a little deeper.
The Rangers have not had a winning record or made the playoffs since 2016. Following last summer’s draft, Texas’ farm system was ranked sixth in baseball— which is obviously a good thing. But most of their projected impact prospects—including highly touted righty Jack Leiter— are not expected to reach the big leagues in the next 12 months.
Jacob deGrom will turn 35 in June and injuries and the pandemic have limited him to only 38 starts over the past three years. He’s at the point in his career where winning RIGHT NOW should be the only objective.
Spare me the rigmarole about “building something.”
And if we’re talking about winning right now, who has a better chance to win the whole thing in 2023?
The New York Mets who just won 101 games—while having deGrom participate in only 11 of them—have the richest owner in professional sports, and a roster loaded with veteran players with championship aspirations, or the Texas Rangers who won 33 fewer ballgames last season and haven’t finished higher than fourth in the AL West since none of us had a clue what COVID was?
The situation reminds me a little bit of when David Wright had the long sit down with Sandy Alderson prior to agreeing to a long term extension in 2012 that guaranteed he’d finish his career in New York. In his press conference, Wright said a lot of the same things deGrom just said. The Mets promising future was what he was buying into, and putting belief into what the team was building. But there’s one big difference here. David Wright had just turned 30 when he signed his extension and the Mets’ top prospects were right around the corner. Matt Harvey had already reached the big leagues. Zack Wheeler debuted just six months later. Hell, JACOB dEGROM was a little over a year away. Wright’s faith was rewarded in year three of his extension.
Building something doesn’t always work, and even when it does, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Speaking of the Mets last captain, David Wright…
Brandon Nimmo re-signing in Queens the same night deGrom met the media in his new city was a little ironic, don’t you think? deGrom and Nimmo were the Mets’ longest tenured pitcher and position player last year, but the two could not have given off a more different vibe. Nimmo is always smiling, always engaged, and very much a part of the core the Mets want to keep together. The fact they were able to re-sign him for eight years was a fantastic development for both he and the team. It virtually assures Nimmo—like Wright—will play his entire career in New York with the Mets. A lot of people feel that he’ll soon became the team’s first Met to be named captain since Wright (wouldn’t it be awesome if he wore the “C"?).
The whole situation is a true indicator on the loyalty between player and organization, and the player simply wanting to be with the Mets for the rest of his career.
See Aaron Judge and the Yankees for reference as well.
While Nimmo has always worn his emotions on his sleeve, deGrom is a different personality type. He plays things closer to the vest and is more inwardly intense than anything else. Which is all fine. We’ve all heard the rumblings over the last calendar year about how he’d likely prefer to pitch somewhere closer to home and somewhere quieter with less media. Perhaps it was as simple as New York City wasn’t for him since Arlington really isn’t closer to his home in DeLand, Florida, and at this stage in his life he’d rather live and work in a less pressurized environment.
And again, that’s all fine. Just say that, and be honest if that’s the case. That would be easier to respect.
Hell remember when Mike Hampton touted the school systems in Denver? Evan that was better.
Instead, deGrom gave us nothing but cliches, and actually never even mentioned it being a difficult decision to leave the only organization he’d ever known until he was lobbed a layup of a question by a reporter midway through the introduction.
In the end, it obviously takes two to tango and the Mets likely were not going to go to the level the Rangers did in terms of the length of the deal. But from all the reports that have come out, deGrom’s camp did not even come back to the Mets to give them the opportunity to consider matching or at least submitting a best and final offer.
If nothing else, that would have been common decency.
When all is said and done, I honestly hope deGrom can put whatever grudge and bitterness he holds against the Mets behind him and in the future become an involved member of the organizational family when his playing days are over. Under Steve Cohen, New York has done a much better job of honoring its past, and it would be awesome to see deGrom on the mound at an old timer’s day down the road, or a plaque in his honor hung in the Mets Hall of Fame, and perhaps that number 48 hanging next to all the other iconic Mets of their past. What he was able to do in the orange and blue for several years in a row was simply unprecedented and can be spoken about and compared to in the same breath as Sandy Koufax’s five dominant seasons in the early 1960s.
Most important, the memories he provided us will never be forgotten.
But right now, that does not take away the disappointment and sting of not only losing someone who meant so much to this fanbase, but having him barely want to say goodbye on the way out the door.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Diamondbacks surplus of outfielders is generating a plethora of trade interest (AZCentral)
The Dodgers signed veteran outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league contract
Philadelphia officially introduced new shortstop Trea Turner at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday (Phillies)
The Brewers are looking to find catching upgrades this winter (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The Rangers are looking for additional starting pitching, but not at the top of the market (MLB.com)