Jacob deGrom is a beast. He’s the kind of pitcher every team would love to have on their roster. Through his first 17 starts, he went at least seven innings ten times. He had a ten-game stretch this season where he posted a .87 ERA. His 1.84 ERA is the best in baseball and teams are only hitting .208 against him.
Sounds like the kind of guy a team should be preparing to offer a massive contract extension with numbers like those. Then how come the Mets should even entertain the idea of trading him, let alone actually go through with it?
They have been steadfast in their determination not to put deGrom on the block because they think they can become a playoff team again before he becomes a free agent in 2020. However, with how they are playing this season, it is hard to imagine them becoming a .500 team let alone a playoff contender without trading deGrom.
Even with deGrom’s league-leading ERA, the staff has a cumulative ERA of 3.99, good enough for 15th overall. They need at least one if not two quality starting pitchers to become competitive. As for the bullpen and its 4.85 ERA—it’s time for some new bodies.
Of course, it would help if the offense could provide a little more run support. During deGrom’s ten starts in May and June, the offense generated more than three runs just once. As a team, the Mets rank 26th in runs scored with 331 (through July 5th).
For the Mets to become a contender in the NL East, they have a lot of work to do. The Nationals are going to be tough and the Braves appear to be competitive again. They could try to do it in free agency. But the Mets started the season with the fifth highest payroll in baseball already.
The Mets will probably not be able to do enough in free agency to improve enough to be competitive. They need to find another way to inject the roster with some much-needed talent. With what they could command for a pitcher of deGrom’s caliber, they could easily fill quite a few of those holes.
To be fair, injuries to several key players led to the Mets downfall this season. Maybe with them back and whoever the Mets get when they trade deGrom, they actually could make a return to the playoffs by 2020.
But with the roster they currently have, they don’t look anywhere close to becoming a playoff caliber team.