Jacob deGrom declined his option to return to the New York Mets, making him MLB's most desirable free agent pitcher this winter. When healthy, the 34-year-old is the most dominant starter in baseball. In 2022 he went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 64.1 innings. But he only made 11 starts.
The issue with deGrom is that he's only made 26 starts in the past two season thanks to various injuries. He's unhittable when he's right, but he hasn't been consistently healthy since 2019. Despite those concerns, multiple teams will be throwing top cash at deGrom. Here's a look at five teams who could dive in and snag him this winter.
New York Mets
The most likely path here is for deGrom to re-sign with the only franchise he's ever known. The Mets have the money to bring him back and desperately need rotation help with Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker hitting free agency this offseason. It feels like both parties would like a reunion, and if the contracts are equal, deGrom will likely be back. It will all depend on how high the Mets are willing to go to retain their ace.
The Rangers desperately need to find pitching this winter and have already begun solving their rotation problems. Martin Perez accepted his qualifying offer, which was a relief for Texas, and the team acquired Jake Odorizzi from the Braves. Other than Perez, the Rangers' rotation was pretty awful in 2022. An upgrade is most definitely needed. DeGrom is an ideal fit in Texas. The Rangers went big to add offense last offseason, handing monster contracts to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, now they need to find someone to step up on the mound. If deGrom is healthy, there's no better option.
The Braves and deGrom have been connected ever since the 2018 offseason when the two sides were linked in trade rumors. If deGrom is willing to take a short-term deal for a chance at a World Series title. Atlanta already has a great rotation featuring Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Spencer Strider and Charlie Morton. No one knows if Mike Soroka will ever come back healthy, so deGrom could slide in and be the fifth piece in a monster rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers re-signed Clayton Kershaw, but lost Tyler Anderson to the Los Angeles Angels. With Walker Buehler almost certain to miss the 2023 season after Tommy John surgery, there are holes in the Dodgers' rotation. LA has the need and the bottomless resources to add deGrom. Again, if he wants to make a run at a title, this might be a slam dunk depending on the dollars. The Dodgers would boast a rotation of Kershaw, deGrom, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias and Dustin May. They would, once again, enter the season as World Series favorites.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have a lot to do this offseason, including re-signing Aaron Judge. But they're monitoring deGrom and for good reason. With Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Frankie Montas and Luis Severino already in the rotation, deGrom could put the Yankees over the top in 2023. Stealing him from the Mets would be an added bonus.