OKBETLIVE : The Texas Rangers were the principal rival of the New York Mets when it came to the risky pursuit of re-signing Jacob deGrom.
Could the situation be turning in favor of the Mets now that the Rangers are highly interested in free agency starting Carlos Rodon, according to league sources? In any case, if the Rangers don’t sign deGrom, no other team is likely to give him a three-year deal, so why wouldn’t the Mets?
According to SNY, the Yankees have sent a request for deGrom’s medical records, the first stage in what could be a long chase of the free agent. The Yankees, though, have their sights set on stopping the San Francisco Giants from snatching Aaron Judge, therefore it seems likely that deGrom will go unsigned (or another Mets pitching target, Kodai Senga).
Even though deGrom’s friends have said for years that he wants to throw for the Atlanta Braves, the team was recently labeled “extremely unlikely” to sign him by sports news outlet The Athletic.
It is likely that deGrom has spoken with other clubs and that no media have picked up on the conversation. However, league insiders have not heard a peep about it. And those same sources keep tying Rodon to the Rangers, despite the fact that Texas has legitimate interest in deGrom.
Rangers GM Chris Young refused to discuss deGrom or any other free agent during last week’s GM meetings in Las Vegas, citing the MLB and MLBPA’s collectively negotiated [silly; heavy-handed] restrictions concerning such matters. It was my own little aside, not his.
The Mets are betting that the prospect of playing his whole career with one club would be enough to entice the usually cryptic deGrom. The fact that they were able to re-sign pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is helpful, since deGrom is willing to have frank conversations with just a select few members of the club’s front office (GM Billy Eppler has also built a collegial relationship with deGrom).
While other clubs may see Jacob deGrom as a one- or two-year gamble, the Mets see him as an integral component of their organization with potential to still be a top pitcher.
This week, Eppler and his team have been crunching stats, analyzing performances, and otherwise preparing proposals for deGrom and other free agents.