Braves named one of the seven most likely suitors for Jacob deGrom

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This offseason is going to be a wild one for the Mets. They have a boatload of star free agents set to hit free agency, but they also have an owner seemingly willing to spend a billion dollars to stay as competitive as possible. The team from Queens will have a much different look in 2023, and all eyes will be on Jacob deGrom, who is expected to opt-out of his contract.

There has been a lot of outside noise regarding deGrom’s free agency. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported earlier in the season that many people around the league believe the Braves are the favorites to sign him. Others have suggested he’s willing to take less money to get out of New York, but as SNY’s Andy Martino notes, neither deGrom nor his agent has said anything like that to the Mets.

I’m not totally sold on deGrom wanting out of New York, but if he is dead set on finding a new home, the Braves make sense. Their payroll continues to rise, and Alex Anthopoulos has been in constant search of an ace for years.

Of course, the emergence of Spencer Strider makes deGrom more of a luxury than a need. But could you imagine how unbeatable the Braves’ roster would look if they added arguably the best pitcher on the planet? They’ll certainly inquire about his services, and Atlanta was recently listed as one of the seven most likely suitors for deGrom by MLB insider Mark Feinsand, along with the Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers, Padres, Orioles, and Giants.

What would Mets fans hate more: losing deGrom to the Yankees or the Braves? In early July, reports surfaced that Atlanta might be one of the frontrunners for deGrom after he opts out, though that might require the Braves opening 2023 with the highest payroll in team history. With Dansby Swanson headed to free agency, figuring out their shortstop situation might be a bigger priority than adding another frontline starter. deGrom is a native of north Florida, and there has been some speculation that playing for a team close to home could hold some appeal.

There’s no doubt in my mind the Braves will be keeping tabs on deGrom, but I think it’s a long shot he ends up in Atlanta. I don’t see them being in the market for starting pitching this winter. The emergence of Strider makes the Braves rotation very strong, and they just gave Charlie Morton a new contract. Plus, the Braves also have a logjam of starting pitchers at the AAA level, and Mike Soroka should also be ready come 2023.

There’s just not much reason to hand deGrom the contract he will likely desire. The only way I could see it happening is if deGrom’s agent makes it clear he wants to come to Atlanta and is willing to take a shorter contract with a higher AAV. Unless that occurs, it just doesn’t feel likely he ends up with the Braves.

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