Last night against the Atlanta Braves, Jacob deGrom put together arguably his best major league start to date. With that and the return of Dillon Gee to the rotation, deGrom’s future with the Mets is a little bit cloudy.
Going into next season, the Mets seem to have more major league ready starting pitching than needed for the five starting spots. Matt Harvey will be back and seemingly take back his spot at the top of the rotation. Unless he is moved in a deal for a big bat, Zack Wheeler should be slated right behind him. Either this season or at the start of next season, Noah Syndergaard will be a part of the big league club. There’s also team “veterans” Gee and Jon Niese that are reliable starters in their own right. There’s also Bartolo Colon, who is still under contract for another year if the Mets don’t trade him and hang on to him. And don’t forget Rafael Montero, who is sure to back with the Mets sooner rather than later.
Where does that leave deGrom? Well, originally the plan was set for deGrom to be a swing man, kind of like Jeremy Hefner (whose name I forgot to mention above). But deGrom has thrived and shown the ability to be a quality number 3/4 starter for the Mets. Add to that a bullpen that has finally started to take shape with young, inexpensive arms that have proven to be reliable and there really isn’t any room for deGrom there either.
With pressure from the fans and from within to start winning and competing, the Mets know they have to deal from this starting pitching strength to acquire the offense they so desperately need. Zack Wheeler is the first name that pops up, as his talent and potential could bring back the biggest return. So far the Mets have seem reluctant to go that direction, as they’d much rather move Montero, deGrom or one of their minor league bats that may be a few years away.
That being said, deGrom seems to be perfect to be used as the trait bait needed to get the bat that has been talked about at length. Unlike Montero, deGrom has had success at the big league level and he has a pretty good bat as well.
With the talent level of Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard (although not proven at the big league level), Gee and Niese, the Mets can deal from Montero and deGrom in a package for that bat. Because of deGrom’s proven success at the big league level, that gives him more trade value than Montero to teams in need of starting pitching for now and for the future.
Sandy Alderson has talked about needing to deal from the surplus to get better as a team. That time is already here. It’s becoming more of an evaluation of who they want to keep and who has trade value. Jacob DeGrom has emerged as both a guy who doesn’t fit into the long term plans and has bolster his trade value with a good showing in the big leagues. The trigger should be pulled, for both the Mets sake and deGrom’s.