Competition for Carlos Rodón, and the real questions about Jacob deGrom's departure
8-9 teams are interested in signing Carlos Rodón this winter
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
8-9 teams are engaged with LHP Carlos Rodón, including the Mets, Yankees, Orioles, and possibly the Dodgers, Giants and Rangers (New York Post)
The Mets are trying to sign Jameson Taillon, but have been unable to close the deal due to his robust market (SNY)
Justin Verlander is doing his own, “background work” on the Mets (SNY)
Chris Bassitt is looking for a contract in excess of three years - the Mets are interested in a shorter term deal (New York Post)
The Rangers could be interested in exploring a trade with the Mets for James McCann (ESPN)
The Mets could pursue trades to fill their holes in the starting rotation (New York Post)
Winter Meetings ❄️
The Winter Meetings begin this afternoon at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego, California. Here is a schedule of the week’s events:
Monday, December 5: If the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Contemporary Baseball Era Committee on Sunday afternoon elects an individual in attendance, then the Hall of Fame will hold a press conference for the winner(s) at 7 PM ET
Monday, December 5: All-MLB Team announcement, 8 PM ET
Tuesday, December 6: World Baseball Classic Managers/GMs Media Day, 3 PM ET.
Tuesday, December 6: Mets Manager Buck Showalter will meet with the media, 7:20 PM ET
Tuesday, December 6: Inaugural Draft Lottery, 8:30 PM ET (airs on MLB Network)
Thursday, December 7: Rule 5 draft, 5 PM ET
Don’t blame anyone for Jacob deGrom’s inevitable departure… ✍🏻
Jacob deGrom has signed a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers. That still makes me cringe.
There are a lot of angry and disappointed fans out there, even some high profile ones, and it’s certainly understandable. He is the idol of so many people, a hero in some cases. He was the pitcher for so many to be what the Mets chose not to let happen with Tom Seaver, and that was a Met for life.
People want to blame and point the finger at someone, anyone. That’s the natural, human response, or at least the response behind the blank faces of Twitter, Facebook, emails, and text messages. I am upset and disappointed at how all of this turned out too.
But, when the Rangers sent that press release out announcing they had signed away the Mets’ best pitcher since Seaver, it didn’t surprise me in the least.
And now, after taking a deep breath, it’s easy to realize there really is nobody to blame for deGrom leaving.
Just to be clear, according to multiple reports, deGrom was unhappy with his last contract with the Mets, was telling people in his inner circle he wanted to leave New York, and so on and so forth.
So with that said, in the end, the way this all went down really comes as no surprise. In fact, it went down almost exactly how I thought it would with the Mets offering the most per annum and deGrom leaving that on the table to go to another team.
The difference of course is I would’ve expected deGrom to give the Mets one last chance at a best and final bid. After all, Steve Cohen is the game’s richest owner, and something tells me the last three-year, $120 million offer reportedly made to deGrom was not best and final. Not for deGrom, not for a pitcher of his stature, not for a pitcher with so much historical significance and importance to the fan base.
But that’s the beauty of free agency, whether it’s as a professional athlete or people like us who have or who have had day (or night) jobs. We are under no obligation to ask for a counter-offer from our current employer if we have a better offer out there from another organization. We have the right to leave at any time with or without notice in most cases.
Such was the case with deGrom it would seem. But there are a lot of folks out there right now blaming the Mets for all of this and not stepping up to meet deGrom’s demands. There are also people dishing out some newfound hate for deGrom.
All told, it’s a polarizing spectrum on the whole ordeal and a general ignorance for the facts of the matter.
“Slap in the face,” “offensive,” “disrespect,” “they should be ashamed of themselves,” “he bailed on us,” “go lose in Texas,” are among the terms and phrases which have been used to crash on both deGrom and the Mets right now.
Then there are others who are rationalizing his departure by attempting to diminish his value and what he has meant to this organization and city over the course of his career, or using his recent injury history as a reason to do so as well.
Neither are the correct coping methods. He’s one of the best pitchers in club history, one of the best pitchers of his generation emerging as one of the best to ever put on a baseball uniform. Losing players like this is never good for a team.
Part of me believes the Mets could have and should have done better as well, but not so much in this negotiation specifically that never really transpired but more so in ensuring it never got to this point to begin with. These relationships can be very fragile, so they have an obligation to ensure relations don’t turn sour as it so clearly did over the life of this contract, which in-turn led to the process failing the club in all probability. What got them to a moment where the player voluntarily shut the door on the sport’s richest owner is the real problem and what we should be questioning, not whether or not the Mets wanted to or should have or could have or not matched the Rangers offer.
That doesn’t seem like it would’ve mattered too much unless the Mets absolutely blew the doors off of the Rangers’ offer, which would’ve been foolish even if they had gotten the chance to do so (which, again, they didn’t).
And they shouldn’t have needed to do that anyway.
So, the right questions to ask are as follows:
If the Mets had added $15-17 million to the total value the deal, would it have mattered? If not, keep going down the list
Why did this relationship between the player and the organization sour? Why wasn’t it salvageable?
Why did deGrom sign the extension before the 2019 season if he didn’t like the New York area (it proved to be the right call given his recent injuries, for what it’s worth, but that is hindsight)
What could the Mets have done better to comfort deGrom ahead of his decision to opt-out last winter?
What could they have done better after he decided to opt-out to convince him either to not do so or complete a new deal instead?
Are any these questions even relevant?
The way this all went down, reads and sounds, it just seems as though this was a matter of the player wanting to go elsewhere. It’s as simple as that. For whatever reason or reasons, preventable or otherwise. He wanted out, so he got out and went elsewhere. By saying in public on the many occasions he has over the years that he wanted to be a Met for life was either lip service or a change of heart, or maybe a little bit of both.
And, that’s fine.
In the end, deGrom will always have a special place in the heart of Met fans. He was what Dwight Gooden prevented himself from being, which was the second coming of Tom Seaver. He was elite from the moment he stepped foot on that Citi Field mound in his big league debut against the Yankees back in 2014, a day when he was just supposed to be making a spot start.
Having said that, actions speak louder than words, and those actions suggest he clearly didn’t want to be here anymore. This whole process spells that out. And the club should want and sign players who want to be here. If deGrom truly wanted to be with the Mets albeit on a more market-competitive and modernized contract, then he would’ve opted out of his deal and, like Edwin Díaz did last month, begun to negotiate with the Mets and wrapped this up quickly at that time, not a month after the fact let alone with another organization.
But again, even if the Mets had offered the same exact contract to the one they gave Max Scherzer, something tells me the result would’ve been exactly the same - deGrom would’ve signed the same five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers, or the Astros, or another team not necessarily closer to home, but certainly not in Flushing.
So, there’s nobody to blame here. Yes, there are questions, yes I am sure there are lessons learned for both parties as this relationship now runs its course. I’m sure deGrom will say all of the right things about the Mets at his press conference in Arlington next week and not reveal a whole lot about his position on the matter, and each party will move on amicably in one form or another.
And, maybe that’s the real answer - the relationship simply ran it’s course, for whatever reason it did, good or bad.
Perhaps one day he will be back for “Jacob deGrom Day” at Citi Field, and the city and community will get to celebrate his illustrious career in the way everyone wants to anyway - usually, these things work out even through the sharp teeth of business.
Hot Stove 🔥
Pirates OF Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade after their contract extension talks reached an impasse (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
It’s becoming, “increasingly likely” Aaron Judge will get nine guaranteed years in his new contract (Athletic)
The Cubs are showing interest in Dansby Swanson (MLB Network)
The Orioles agreed to a one-year contract with RHP Kyle Gibson (Athletic)
The Orioles have connected with Noah Syndergaard to potentially fill a void in their rotation (New York Post)