Jacob deGrom is widely expected to opt out of his deal with the New York Mets and hit free agency for the first time at age 34. His market is going to be a particularly interesting one, because when he’s healthy, he has been the best pitcher in baseball over the past five seasons. But he has rarely been healthy for a full season, and his performance also started to dip a bit to end this season.
Prevailing wisdom has it that deGrom will want to beat his teammate Max Scherzer’s three-year, $130 million deal, either in length or AAV ($43.3M) or both. But is money even going to be the primary factor in deGrom’s free agent decision?
A source familiar with deGrom indicated that money will not necessarily be the determining factor of his impending free agency — that deGrom cares less about pushing forward pitcher salaries than peers such as Trevor Bauer and teammate Max Scherzer.
What he does care about is comfort. It has long been thought that deGrom would prefer playing somewhere closer to his Florida home.
If you are among those who are hoping that the Cubs could surprisingly woo Jacob deGrom in free agency, then none of this is particularly good news. Because of deGrom’s age and where the Cubs are in the competitive cycle (i.e., not a lock to be a World Series threat next year), the Cubs were already behind the 8-ball. Money would probably HAVE to be the deciding factor in a deGrom pursuit. So that’s not great if that’s not his main thing.
Moreover, the Chicago Cubs are obviously not in Florida. They are not particularly close to Florida. They don’t even do Spring Training in Florida. So if geography is a huge factor for deGrom, that’s just about a dealbreaker.
… unless the Cubs want to relocate to Jacksonville for deGrom. If he’s healthy, it might be worth it.