After the AL clinchers last night (the historic Seattle Mariners clinch, and also the Tampa Bay Rays clinched a Wild Card spot) he only thing left unsettled – in terms of which teams go – is the back two NL Wild Card spots. Two of the Padres (up 1.5), Phillies (up 0.5), and Brewers (down 0.5) will make the playoffs. The other misses out.
There is also the matter of the NL East winner to be decided, as the Mets and Braves are now tied atop the standings there after the Braves win last night. The winner will not only take the division, but will also get a bye through the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It’s a big race.
In last night’s win, the Braves hit THREE homers off of Jacob deGrom, who has been on a little bit of a slide ever since …
That’s right. The Cubs broke deGrom. … so they could sign him more cheaply!
I mostly kid, but it is funny to think about, and the slide does make you wonder what the impact will be on deGrom’s market. Remember, he’s a guy who already lives at the margins of a team’s willingness to go to unprecedented levels on a contract because of the health. You’re willing to sign him to a RIDICULOUS annual salary – and risk the injury – because he’s the literal best of the best.
If deGrom starts showing warts, at age 34 and coming off more of those injuries, doesn’t that give you at least some pause about how much you’d be willing to commit? As we’ve discussed, it seems like deGrom will look to his rotation-mate Max Scherzer’s three-year, $130 million deal as the goal or even the floor. Still seems like he’s very much worth that risk. But if the slide continues into his final regular season start, and then the postseason? Is it enough to give you pause on three years or on the AAV?
For me, it is not. I know, I’m the one who set all this up, but I just think the stuff is clearly still so uber-elite that it’s worth the chance that he could stay healthy for 120 innings or whatever, on average, and continue to dominate.
Note that, even though the ERA has slide to 3.08, deGrom still has a ridiculous FIP (2.04), strikeout rate (42.7%), and walk rate (3.3%). I think the book on him now is just that you need to swing out of your shoes and hope you can run into a dinger. Even last night, deGrom still struck out 11 over 6.0 innings, and walked none. I think three solo homers is a little flukey.
I have my doubts about whether deGrom is where the Cubs will start their rotation pursuit – even if I have hopes – but I do think they will be aggressively pursuing top-of-the-rotation options. So, whether it’s deGrom or not, this market is still very important to follow. There are only so many teams that could REMOTELY REALISTICALLY pursue and land deGrom. Heck, even if he re-signs with the Mets, as they’ve indicated they are determined to do, that’s going to impact the market.
So we’ll keep monitoring that price tag as his season finishes up …