I already talked about Robert Murray’s column from Friday that singled out the Cubs and Orioles as the early favorites for Carlos Correa this winter, but there was another piece in there that caught my attention when he was talking about Jacob deGrom’s looming free agency.
"deGrom has made it clear that he will opt out of his contract after the season, but Steve Cohen is expected to make a strong push to retain him. The Mets know deGrom and his medical history better than any other team, which will make negotiations interesting, but he should command a multi-year deal worth north of Max Scherzer’s $43.33 million annual average value."
The fact the Mets will do everything in their power to retain deGrom is hardly a surprise. Owner Steve Cohen throws cash around like he’s playing with Monopoly money and after an early postseason exit, New York will want to shore up their club heading into 2023. But given the Cubs’ need for an ace, the bit about deGrom likely commanding something ‘north’ of Max Scherzer’s record contract is certainly relevant.
If you’ll remember, the Mets inked Scherzer to a two-year, $86.7 million deal with a player option for a third year last winter, pairing the three-time Cy Young Award winner with deGrom atop the rotation. While that one-two punch didn’t exactly deliver in the NL Wild Card Series this month, the thinking behind the move was solid.
Which brings me to Chicago. Do you want to see Jed Hoyer tie up $50 million a year in one pitcher? I don’t – especially one with a checkered injury history who made just 11 starts this year and struggled down the stretch.
Somebody will undoubtedly give deGrom the deal he’s looking for this winter, whether it be the Mets or, as Murray notes, a team like the Dodgers, who have Trevor Bauer’s ill-fated contract coming off the books, freeing up north of $35 million in payroll.
Cubs should spend big, but not on someone like Jacob deGrom
I’m not saying the Cubs shouldn’t play in the deep end of the pool this offseason, because they absolutely should. I want incessant rumors connecting Chicago to the top free agent shortstops, established rotation pieces and more. But as dominant as deGrom can be on the bump, he comes with a lot of red flags, too.
For that amount annually, Hoyer could go out and add a combination of Carlos Rodon and Kodai Senga, and, especially when it comes to pitchers, I’ll always take the option where you get two quality pieces rather than one high-risk, high-reward guy who may carry you all the way or go down in flames.
Given the mix returning for the Cubs in 2023 – Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Hayden Wesneski, Adrian Sampson, Kyle Hendricks, etc. – I’m more than fine letting some other team drop $50 million annually on Jacob deGrom. That’s not the right move given where Chicago is right now – period.