2023 MLB Free Agent Preview: Jacob deGrom
Arguably the best starting pitcher in MLB currently could hit the free agent market in 2023. Jacob deGrom, despite his injury-riddled seasons, has a chance to opt-out of his contract with the Mets.
It was another injury-filled season for deGrom. He was only able to pitch in 11 games this year, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.08 ERA. DeGrom pitched a career-low 64 innings this year but was still able to hit the 100-mark in strikeouts with 102. Not counting 2020, deGrom hasn’t been healthy in a full season since 2019. Yet, he’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and will be due for a bag if he opts out.
Potential Landing Spots
There’s still a possibility he doesn’t opt out and stays with the Mets in 2023. If deGrom does leave, there’s plenty of rich teams willing to give him a big contract. There’s one team that may even surprise you.
New York Mets
The safest and most obvious choice is staying with the Mets. We know owner Steve Cohen has the cash to continue paying his contract. Even if deGrom opted out, I’m sure Cohen would be willing to give him even more. It’s also worth noting that his teammate Mark Canha said he’s talked with the starting pitcher and made it clear that deGrom would like to stay in New York. He’s been with this organization his whole career, so it’ll take a lot of consideration of whether deGrom is ready to leave the Mets.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Even after a 111-win season, the Dodgers have serious work to do with their rotation. Walker Buehler will miss the 2023 season following his second Tommy John surgery, while Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney will all hit free agency. Assuming none of them re-sign, the Dodgers’ rotation would only consist of Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. Adding another superstar is no question for the Dodgers, and they may have to if they want to remain NL favorites.
Back in July, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Braves were favorites to sign deGrom if he opted out. They’ve been able to lock up most of their core, so the Braves don’t have to worry too much about saving money for another extension. That Braves rotation is already elite with Max Fried and Spencer Strider, so adding deGrom puts them back in the World Series mix.
The last place Rangers signing a top-tier free agent? Well, they already did it last year with Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. The team has new leadership as well after naming Bruce Bochy as the new manager. President of Baseball Operations Chris Young said they “will leave no stone unturned” in their search to upgrade pitching, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
New York Yankees
There have been talks of Aaron Judge going to the Mets, so what about deGrom going to the Yankees? If the Yankees do in fact lose Judge, their next area of concern is the rotation. Gerrit Cole will still hold the reigns as the ace in front of Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes, and Frankie Montas. That leaves one more spot open and imagine a rotation where Cole and deGrom go back-to-back.
While it would be interesting to see deGrom in a new uniform, I don’t see him leaving the Mets. He’s 34 years old and can’t stay healthy. He already has a contract with the Mets that’s paying him $137 million, so why leave that security? DeGrom clearly loves New York, and it’s the safer route staying with the Mets.
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