Following a painfully slow first month of the MLB offseason, things have picked up tremendously over the last few days. Justin Verlander signed with the Mets this afternoon, and over the weekend, Jacob deGrom inked a five-year contract to head south and play for the Rangers. It’s apparent there was a disconnect between deGrom and the Mets organization, as it’s been rumored for a while that he wanted to get out of the bright lights of New York for whatever reason. The Rangers were mentioned as a possibility for a while, but before that, Buster Olney of ESPN reported the Braves were considered by many to be the favorites to land deGrom.
There is a perception in some corners of the industry that if Jacob deGrom follows through with what he said in the spring and opts out of his Mets' contract, the Braves will be the favorites to land him.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 2, 2022
Despite Olney’s original report, I always felt it was a long shot that the Braves poached deGrom away from the Mets. While I think he would have been a valuable addition, the Braves are rarely going to outbid all of the major markets in baseball. There are several teams with deeper pockets, and Atlanta already has a ton of money committed to their roster in 2023. Considering their massive hole at shortstop, it just didn’t feel like the Braves would ignore that in favor of a starting pitcher — an area of the team that is already very strong.
However, Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has confirmed Olney’s original report. The Braves apparently did consider signing deGrom, but at the end of the day, five years and nearly $200 million was too rich for Anthopolous’ blood.
Adding deGrom to an already fierce rotation would have been a dream. Just imagine how dominant Max Fried, Jacob deGrom, and Spencer Strider could be as a 1-2-3 punch. Then Atlanta would still have Charlie Morton and Kyle Wright to round out the group. There wouldn’t be a better rotation in baseball, provided they could all stay healthy. Unfortunately, it’s no longer in the cards, but this news does tell us a couple of things about the Braves moving forward: they still are looking to add a frontline starter if possible, and they have plenty of money left to spend this offseason.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the Braves will enter the luxury tax. I think their interest in deGrom tells us all we need to know. If Atlanta were to ink the former NL Cy Young, they would be well into the tax. This team has said it’s their goal to be a top-five payroll in all of baseball, and it looks like that may happen sooner rather than later.
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire