Rather than pay Jacob deGrom to return to Queens, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has turned losing his ace into a surprising win.
Whenever a team loses its ace, things usually don’t go well after that. It’s typically smaller market MLB teams that end up losing their best pitcher to bigger market clubs, so when the New York Mets lost Cy Young-winning ace Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers it came as a bit of a blow to fan morale.
To be clear, the Rangers aren’t a small ball club — especially after last winter’s free agent spending splurge — but they’re not the Mets.
That being said, Steve Cohen didn’t settle for defeat like many other ballclubs would have done in such a situation. Rather than wallow, Cohen took the money that deGrom would have been paid and used it to completely rebuild the Mets pitching staff.
One man’s salary is another’s entire rotation.
As Jolly Olive from Jomboy pointed out, the Mets would have needed to fork over $187 million to bring deGrom back but instead invested $187 million in three new pitchers this offseason.
- Justin Verlander – 2 years/$86 million
- Kodai Senga – 5 years/$75 million
- Jose Quintana – 2 years/$26 million
Compare that to the five years and $37 million AAV that the Rangers committed to deGrom and the sting begins to lessen for fans upset over seeing him leave New York.
Obviously, this whole thing needs to play out before we have a good idea of if this gamble paid off for Cohen. As it stands now, however, it’s a pretty damn good bet to make and a surprisingly smart use of money for a big market team with a history of mismanaging contracts.
Not to be lost in the sauce of deGrom leaving is the fact that the three new additions to the Mets staff join Max Scherzer. So while New York lost a Cy Young winner, it still has one at the top of its rotation.
New York Mets projected pitching rotation for 2023
- Max Scherzer
- Justin Verlander
- José Quintana
- Kodai Senga
- Carlos Carrasco
That’s a pretty stellar rotation to trot out and sharpen for a postseason run next October.
New York has already tried the approach of pairing Cy Young winners atop its rotation and filling in the gaps from there. Technically, that strategy is still in place as Verlander is coming off winning his third Cy Young (and his second in four years), but there’s a richer substance to the rest of the staff than in years past.
At least, that’s the bet that Cohen made and it seems to lowkey be the smartest move of the winter so far.