AL club enters deGrom sweepstakes (report)

November 29th, 2022

Two-time Cy Young Award winner has opted out of his contract with the Mets to become a free agent. MLB.com is tracking all the latest rumors surrounding the 34-year-old.

Read all about deGrom here.

Nov. 29: Rays enter deGrom sweepstakes (report)
The Mets, Yankees, Rangers and Cubs have all been tied to deGrom in the Hot Stove rumor mill. Do those clubs now have to deal with a new competitor for his services? Possibly.

SNY's Andy Martino has been told by league sources that deGrom's representatives have spoken with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays could be a fit for deGrom if he was dead set on heading back to his home state. deGrom was raised and attended college in DeLand, Fla., which is a few hours north of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. However, the two-time Cy Young Award opted out of his deal with the Mets that would have paid him about $30 million in 2023, and a recent prediction from MLBTradeRumors lined deGrom up for a contract that would give him $45 million per year, which would be the largest average annual value given to a free agent in MLB history.

By comparison, the Rays have never exceeded an AAV of $15 million with any free agent, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. That came when they signed pitcher Charlie Morton to a two-year, $30 million pact prior to the 2019 season. However, Tampa Bay did go big-game hunting last offseason when it made a big push to sign Freddie Freeman before he joined the Dodgers.

Nov. 28: deGrom is Mets’ ‘focus’ on SP market (report)
Although they’ve shown interest in a number of top free-agent starters, the Mets appear to be focused on re-signing deGrom, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required). 

As SNY’s Andy Martino recently wrote, the market for deGrom seems to be breaking the Mets’ way. The Mets have viewed the Rangers as their top competition for deGrom, but Rosenthal reports that Texas seems to be more confident in landing Carlos Rodón than deGrom or Justin Verlander. 

The Braves were also once thought to be a potential deGrom suitor, but Rosenthal recently reported that signing deGrom is a “highly unlikely” scenario for Atlanta. The Braves are already close to the first Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $233 million. A deGrom deal would likely push them past the first and second thresholds and put them close to the third ($273 million).

The Yankees reportedly requested medical information on deGrom recently, but Martino’s “hunch” is that the Bronx Bombers won’t be a serious deGrom suitor as they remain focused on re-signing Aaron Judge.

Per Martino, the Mets are hopeful deGrom will be enticed by the chance to play his entire career for one team. The organization also believes that deGrom will pick the Mets so long as there’s not a big discrepancy in the offers he receives, according to a Nov. 19 report from Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Nov. 21: Yankees have 'checked in on' deGrom (report)
As the market for deGrom continues to unfold, SNY's Andy Martino reported Monday, citing a league source, that the Yankees "recently requested medical information on deGrom."

As Martino makes clear, such a step does not necessarily indicate that the Yankees will pursue deGrom. On the other hand, it's a step that any interested club certainly would make before launching such a pursuit, given deGrom's recent injury history. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has only made 26 starts over the past two seasons while spending significant time on the injured list.

It remains to be seen how serious the Yankees are about snatching deGrom from a crosstown rival, but a New York vs. New York bidding war certainly would work in the 34-year-old's favor. However, such an outcome might depend on what the Yankees do with their own premium free agent, Aaron Judge, who would likely be a higher priority. After all, New York has no obvious replacement for the newly crowned AL MVP, while it will have Gerrit Cole atop its 2023 rotation regardless of what happens with deGrom.

Nov. 19: Cubs in on deGrom?
Along with the Mets, Rangers, Dodgers and Yankees, the Cubs are also in the mix for the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Chicago has also been reported to have interest in the biggest free agent of them all, AL MVP Aaron Judge. 

The Mets, however, might have the inside track, as Puma reports New York's front office believes deGrom is interested in remaining with the club if "there isn't a significant discrepancy in offers." Puma also adds that while the Mets might be interested in offering deGrom a shorter-term, higher annual average value deal that would include additional seasons if certain incentives are reached, they would be hesitant to give him a longer deal, given his age (34) and injury history (he's only pitched 156 1/3 innings over the last two seasons).

Nov. 18: Heyman can 'easily see' deGrom to the Dodgers
deGrom to the Dodgers? MLB Network insider Jon Heyman told Christopher Russo on MLB Network's High Heat on Friday that he can "easily see that happening." Given that the Dodgers lost Tyler Anderson to the Angels, and that the club recently experimented with a high-annual-value/short-term deal for Trevor Bauer, deGrom could be a good fit for Los Angeles.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has to this point spent his entire career with the Mets, who will surely try to re-sign him. Another club that has been rumored to be in the mix for him -- and one deGrom himself has reportedly expressed interest in -- is the Rangers.

Nov. 18: Do Mets, Rangers or someone else have edge for deGrom?
MLB.com's Anthony DiComo breaks down the Mets and Rangers' dueling interest in deGrom. Which team has the edge?

In DiComo's view, the Mets are still the most likely team to sign the two-time Cy Young Award winner. But he also thinks there's a real possibility the Rangers land deGrom with an above-market offer -- or even a team like the Dodgers that enters the race later on in free agency.

Nov. 15: Mets looking at deGrom alternatives
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets remain engaged with deGrom’s camp but are considering a number of free-agent alternatives -- including Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga -- based on the belief that the Rangers are serious suitors for deGrom.

The Rangers have two rotation spots to fill after trading for Jake Odorizzi and using the qualifying offer to bring back Martín Pérez.

Texas has been linked to deGrom, Carlos Rodón and Senga this offseason, and while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required) noted Monday that the asking prices from some of the top names on the market could cause the club to pivot to trades or lesser free-agent starters, general manager Chris Young said Tuesday that the Rangers will "continue to look at the same targets that we had going into this process."

Nov. 14: Latest on deGrom sweepstakes
The Braves and Rangers have been considered two of the Mets’ top competitors in the race to sign deGrom, but both clubs appear to be backing off the right-hander.

The Braves already have a strong rotation of Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Spencer Strider and Charlie Morton, with Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka and Bryce Elder in consideration for the No. 5 spot. deGrom would be a nice get, but the bigger priority for the Braves could be re-signing shortstop Dansby Swanson. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required), signing deGrom is a “highly unlikely” scenario for Atlanta.

Texas made contact with deGrom, Carlos Rodón and Kodai Senga last week, per MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, but the early asking prices from some of the biggest free-agent starters could cause the Rangers to pivot to trades and lesser starting pitchers, Rosenthal notes.

Nov. 10: Rangers have reached out to deGrom, other top FA starters
The Rangers’ trade for Jake Odorizzi on Wednesday could be one of several rotation additions the team makes this offseason. Free agent Martín Pérez is a candidate to return, perhaps on the qualifying offer, and the team is also said to be eyeing some of the top names on the market.

Sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the Rangers have made contact with the representatives for Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón and Kodai Senga.

deGrom’s camp has let the Rangers know he is interested in them, too, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman via the New York Post.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner's destination ultimately could come down to which team is willing to offer him a four-year deal. The Mets want him back but are reportedly reluctant to go to four years.

Nov. 9: $40 million per year for deGrom?
Max Scherzer is the only player in MLB history to sign a contract with an average annual value of at least $40 million, but at least one general manager expects deGrom to join that exclusive club this offseason, sharing that prediction with MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

deGrom’s price tag could serve to limit the field of suitors, Heyman speculates. That could work in the Mets’ favor, though it’s unclear what type of contract New York is willing to offer its longtime ace. If deGrom is looking to exceed Scherzer’s record average annual value ($43.3 million), “the strong indications are that it will not be with the Mets,” Heyman wrote for the New York Post on Monday.

Meanwhile, SNY’s Andy Martino reported Tuesday that the Mets would be “reluctant” to go to four years for the righty if it comes to that.

Nov. 8: Mets not willing to offer deGrom record AAV?
The Yankees and Mets both had franchise cornerstones reach free agency in recent days, with Aaron Judge hitting the market Sunday and deGrom opting out of his contract Monday. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman gets the sense that Judge is more likely to return than deGrom.

Writing for the New York Post, Heyman reports that one Yanks executive said he felt more “confident” now than he had previously about the team’s chances of re-signing Judge, while those who have spoken to the Mets recently got the impression the team is pessimistic about bringing back deGrom.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets have made preliminary contact with deGrom's camp, but the word is that nothing has progressed very far yet. Martino notes the Mets would be "reluctant" to go to four years for deGrom.

The Mets acted quickly to reach a reliever-record $102 million contract (per a source) with closer Edwin Díaz on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean they have an endless budget, according to Heyman, who hears the club has a payroll target.

The belief is that the Yanks are willing to top the $36 million per year asking price Judge set in the spring. But if deGrom is looking to exceed Max Scherzer’s record average annual value ($43.3 million), “the strong indications are that it will not be with the Mets,” Heyman writes.

According to Martino, the two clubs the Mets see as their biggest competition for deGrom are the Braves and the Rangers.

"A lot of people around the player who have known him well for a long time think that he wants to take a good hard look at teams that are closer to his Florida home," Martino said Monday on SportsNite.

Heyman also mentions the Rangers as a likely deGrom suitor, noting that the club scouted the ace righty late in the 2022 season.

Nov. 7: deGrom officially opts out; what’s next?
As expected, deGrom officially opted out of the final year on his five-year, $137.5 million contract with the Mets on Monday, becoming a free agent for the first time in his career.

However, deGrom won’t be able to sign with another club besides the Mets until Thursday, giving New York a chance to come up with a deal that satisfies the right-hander before he ever has a chance to consider other destinations.

The Mets have already shown a willingness to strike quickly, agreeing to a record five-year, $102 million deal (per a source) with closer Edwin Díaz hours after he became a free agent on Sunday. Given what we’ve heard about deGrom’s desire to return to the Mets, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the club hammer out a deal with the two-time Cy Young Award winner sooner rather than later.

Nov. 5: Where will deGrom end up?
In his new Beat Report, MLB.com insider Mark Feinsand said the Mets are expected to try and retain deGrom, but that the Braves, Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres and Giants are among the teams in play for him.

Nov. 4: Canha: deGrom wants to return
deGrom is expected to opt out of the final year on his five-year, $137.5 million contract this offseason, but Mets outfielder Mark Canha says the ace told him he wants to re-sign with the club.

"Jake told me he wants to come back, too, and he really likes it here, too,” Canha told the New York Post’s Mike Puma (subscription required). “I think Jake and Max [Scherzer] and Bassitt have a really good friendship they have developed over this year and good professional relationship, too.”

Canha is the second player to share insight on deGrom’s thinking in the past 10 days. Former Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler, now with the Phillies, said in an interview with the Post before Game 1 of the World Series that deGrom told him he likes New York and the Mets organization.

“He told me he is happy there,” Wheeler said. “I just think he wants to get compensated for what he’s done.”

The question, of course, is whether the Mets will offer deGrom the type of deal he wants. One early prediction shared by the New York Post’s Jon Heyman put deGrom’s next deal at $125 million over three years.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden (subscription required) went even higher than that, predicting a three-year, $135 million contract, which would give deGrom the MLB record for average annual value. Scherzer set the mark when he signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets last offseason.

Oct. 28: Rangers expected to make run at deGrom?
The Rangers were among the most aggressive teams in free agency a year ago, signing Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray for $556 million in guaranteed money. After finishing 68-94 and parting ways with president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward, Texas could be busy again this offseason, especially when it comes to improving its pitching staff.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman talked to a rival executive who predicted that the Rangers are going to “pony up” for deGrom, according to a report from Heyman in the New York Post. 

The Rangers have a clear need for a frontline starter. Texas had the fourth-worst ERA (4.22) in the American League in 2022, and with Martín Pérez’s one-year deal set to expire, the club lacks proven arms behind Gray.

deGrom, who has said on multiple occasions that he plans to opt out of the final year on his five-year, $137.5 million deal to test free agency, apparently isn’t the only ace on the Rangers’ radar.

Citing talks with a person familiar with the team's thinking, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reported (subscription required) earlier this month that the Rangers are expected to “make a hard push” for Carlos Rodón, who also has the ability to opt out after the conclusion of the World Series.

Oct. 28: Former Met shares insight on deGrom's thinking
According to former Met Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom's potential departure won't be because deGrom doesn't like New York City. In an interview with the New York Post's Mike Puma prior to Game 1 of the World Series, Wheeler -- who played from the Mets from 2013 to 2019 -- said that deGrom is happy in New York City, but that the hurler "just wants to get compensated for what he’s done.”

“I don’t think it was the right compensation at the time,” Wheeler told Puma. “I can’t speak for him, it’s a lot of money and it’s life-changing money and I think anybody would have taken that at the time. But at the same time people have seen what he’s done and maybe you can correct it along the way, and this is his chance to correct it.”

Wheeler signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies prior to the 2020 season. He went 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA with 163 strikeouts in 153 innings this year after finishing second in Cy Young voting last season.

Oct. 9: Has deGrom made his final start with Mets?
The Mets’ season ended in disappointing fashion on Sunday night, as the club was shut out in a winner-take-all Game 3 against the Padres in the NL Wild Card Series, mustering just one hit. New York will now turn its focus to an offseason in which a number of notable names are set to become free agents.

This could include deGrom, who has the ability to opt out of his contract. Due to injuries, deGrom made only 26 starts across 2021-22, but the right-hander made it clear in March that he intends to opt out to test free agency and reiterated his plans in July. The 34-year-old was noncommittal when asked about his future following Game 3.

Under his current contract, deGrom would earn $30.5 million in 2023. The deal includes a $32.5 million club option for 2024.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand took a look at the most likely suitors for deGrom if he does become a free agent next month. A return to the Mets remains the most likely scenario, per Feinsand, but the Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Yankees, Braves and Orioles could make it an interesting race.