Discover more from Just Mets
Chris Bassitt to decline qualifying offer, and a holiday wish list beyond Jacob deGrom
Chris Bassitt will seek a multi-year deal in free agency
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
Chris Bassitt will decline the $19.65 million qualifying offer he received from the Mets last week (New York Post)
The Mets have been in contact with the Rays about trades for their starting pitchers (MLB Network)
The Mets hired former Cardinals coach Jeff Albert to be their new director of hitting (SNY)
Speaking of pitchers, the Mets have shown interest in LHP Andrew Heaney (Newsday)
Seth Lugo is drawing interest from other clubs as a potential starting pitcher (Athletic)
For the moment, it’s unlikely the Braves will pursue Jacob deGrom (Athletic)
Former Met Chuck Carr passed away at the age of 55 after a battle with cancer
Paving a trail to Justin Verlander… ✍🏻
Before you say, “wait a second…” let me just start off by saying it’s mid-November, and this is the time of year everyone starts making their holiday wish list.
For me personally, mine includes one of those small drones for which you don’t need a permit to fly so I can take neat overhead pictures when I travel, or of my team when I am coaching Little League. I’d also like someone to buy me a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card (graded 6 or higher, please), but that’s been on my list since I was about nine years old.
Perhaps Mr. Cohen won’t get me that Mickey Mantle card, or even the drone (for what it’s worth, he’s made it clear he can afford to get me both without batting an eye). At this point, if he’d like to help pay to have my driveway re-paved, I’d probably take that graciously.
But my Met wish list always has many different angles and possibilities. This year is a little different than last year since there are far more permutations and, “if this, than that” to consider with so many free agents of their own at risk of leaving.
The top of that list starts with Jacob deGrom of course, who we all know the Mets need to do everything possible to make a Met for life (assuming he wants to be a Met, of course). Yes, he’s great. Yes, he has the ability all his own to put a team on its shoulders and carry them up the Canyon of Heroes. That’s what Hall of Fame caliber players have the power to do.
But it’s bigger than that with deGrom. He is the modern version of Tom Seaver to the Mets and the Mets let Seaver get away twice - they have to ensure they’ve done everything they can so that doesn’t happen again.
Of course, it takes two to tango and again, if deGrom doesn’t want to be here, he won’t be here. Mr. Cohen made that clear in September when asked - eventually this process will be up to deGrom himself. If that tells you anything, it should tell you Mr. Cohen knows what is at stake here with deGrom, and knows how important he is to the fabric, brand, history and legacy of the franchise.
For a moment though, lets play a game called, “Jacob deGrom signs with the Texas Rangers.”
Such a scenario would obviously serve as a gut punch for the Mets, even if deGrom were to leave a more lucrative offer on the runway at LaGuardia Airport. We all know the reasons why and if you’re one of those who would immediately say, “good riddance,” or “they were fine without him for most of 2022,” you’re just in denial. It would be bad. Bad for the team, bad for their legacy, bad for their chances in 2023. Period, end of story.
But there’s a legit possibility this can happen. So if it does, what should the Mets do?
Well, there’s the Carlos Rodón option which is both tantalizing and risky. He’s a left-handed power arm who has a history of shoulder trouble. He has never once approached the 200 inning mark in his career as a result, but he has put up two straight incredibly good seasons while averaging exactly 155 innings during that span. He is going to be expensive, he is going to demand a long-term deal. But he is probably the next-best option to deGrom.
Or, is he?
Late last week, a new free agent became available. He is the presumptive American League Cy Young Award winner with a Hall of Fame resume of his own. He opted out of his contract with the Astros after helping to pitch them to a World Championship after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA over 175 innings during the regular season.
His name is Justin Verlander.
Now, a lot stars need to align for the Mets for Santa to deliver this gift to Flushing.
First off, it would very likely mean deGrom signed with the Rangers or another team. They’ll also have to deal with the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, perhaps the Red Sox and other competition with large bank rolls who lose out in the deGrom derby.
And assuming the stars do align for Verlander and they do get him, he comes with the understood risk with his age, durability and the wear and tear of all of those regular season and postseason innings already on his arm. The risk doubles with Max Scherzer, another aging pitcher who comes with his own durability questions at this point in his career.
But he’s also potentially a perfect fit from both a roster and dollar perspective. Yes, he will be expensive, potentially just as much as deGrom or Scherzer. But a high-dollar, short-term scenario could be just what the Mets need as that offers them the longer-term flexibility someone like Rodón would not.
But wouldn’t it be something to have Verlander and Scherzer back together again, seeking one more title in the sunset periods of their respective careers?
Maybe this is a pipe dream. But Scherzer was a pipe dream 365 days ago too. Then, it wasn’t.
You just never know what this owner is capable of.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Astros have identified Anthony Rizzo as their top free agent bat this winter (Athletic)
The Astros secured former Met Rafael Montero on a three-year, $46 million contract over the weekend
The Cubs released Jason Heyward with one-year, $22 million remaining on his contract
Martin Pérez is leaning towards accepting the Rangers’ $19.65 million qualifying offer (MLB Network)
Former big leaguer Yasiel Puig has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators during an investigation into an illegal gambling operation (official release)