The plan for deGrom, injury notes, and a cautious reassurance from deGrom's outing
Jacob deGrom dominated the Astros in his spring debut
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
Jacob deGrom made his spring debut against the Astros on Tuesday night in Port St. Lucie - he allowed only one hit while striking out five over two innings (30 pitches)
Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday the plan is to have deGrom ready to throw at least five innings on Opening Day against the Nationals on April 7.
James McCann experienced tightness in his back before Tuesday night’s game - he is day-to-day
Starling Marte continues to work his way back from a sore oblique. He has begun swinging off a tee, and still hopes to be available on Opening Day
The Mets settled all of their arbitration cases except for that with RHP Chris Bassitt (multiple reports)
Both Mike Piazza and Mookie Wilson have joined the Mets as guest instructors at camp this week
Today’s Game 🗓
The Mets are off today - they resume Grapefruit League play tomorrow night against the Marlins (6:10 PM ET) at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie.
Jacob deGrom offered a cautious reassurance on Tuesday 📝
It’s as if he never left last July, and none of the drama with his elbow ever transpired in the second half of the 2021 season.
On Tuesday night against the Astros, Jacob deGrom dazzled the Astros over two innings at Clover Park, allowing just a hit with five strikeouts while throwing 30 pitches, 24 for strikes.
deGrom’s fastball topped out at 99 mph (98.7, according to Baseball Savant, if you want to get really technical), and his back-foot slider clocked in at 92 mph. He induced 14 swings and misses among those 30 pitches.
It was must-see TV because it was Jacob deGrom, but also because it needed to be a healthy Jacob deGrom.
“I was just trying to work on fastball, slider and locate,” deGrom said after his outing. “I wanted to get more changeups in, just didn’t do it. The goal is to throw any pitch at any time. That is what this is for, trying to get our work in and be comfortable throwing a pitch in any situation.”
Despite the 99 mph fastball in his first competitive outing in 8 1/2 months, deGrom indicated he held back against the Astros.
“That’s kind of going back to trying to be smooth, not trying to throw as hard as I can and work down the slope so I am happy with how that went today,” he said. “I’m sure there will be times when I throw as hard as I can. When I am really in sync and smooth it feels like it comes out better than when I actually try to throw really hard.”
To be fair, of the 704 fastballs deGrom threw in 2021, he averaged 99.2 mph (per Baseball Savant), so yes there’s definitely a little extra in the tank. But honestly, it’s hard to look better than deGrom did on Tuesday. And if that was 80% of deGrom, it’s going to be a really good year for him.
Of course, that assumes he can stay healthy.
deGrom’s outing on Tuesday, while tantalizing and certainly suggestive his elbow is healthy, was merely a beginning of a journey to put all of those questions behind him. It offered a cautious reassurance - simply with a return of that consistent, elite velocity - deGrom can adjust and maintain his body, not only serving as the deal breaking piece in 2022 the Mets simply must have, but returning to being the best pitcher in the game (he probably already is skill-wise - he just needs to be healthy in order to maintain that status) and serve as the gold standard for pitchers up and down the professional ranks.
A healthy deGrom is great for the Mets, great for baseball. How he feels in the coming days are important of course, but no news will be good news.
Here’s to the next step for deGrom and the Mets.
Hot Stove 🔥
The extra-inning “ghost runner” rule will be back, but only in 2022. Rosters will also be expanded to 28 players through May 1 (New York Post)
The Blue Jays are interested in signing Brett Gardner, but its unclear if he will play anywhere other than New York (New York Post)
The Reds are signing RHP Hunter Strickland to a big league contract (USA Today)
Newly-acquired Matt Chapman agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract, which will take him to free agency (ESPN)
RHP Zach Davies is headed to the Diamondbacks on a one-year, $1.75 million contract (Heyman)