Jacob deGrom Rumors: Braves 'Highly Unlikely' to Sign Mets Free Agent to Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 15, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets reacts to giving up a solo home run to Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres during the third inning in game two of the Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

If Jacob deGrom doesn't return to the New York Mets next season, don't expect him to join the team's National League East rival in Atlanta.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it is "highly unlikely" the Braves will sign the right-hander or add a shortstop other than potentially re-signing their own Dansby Swanson.

"The Braves are reluctant to enter into a deal with any player who takes up too high a percentage of their payroll, knowing in future seasons the salaries of their young players will rise," Rosenthal wrote.

Atlanta has a solid rotation with Max Fried, Kyle Wright and Spencer Strider leading the way, but deGrom would be quite the addition.

When healthy, it is hard to find a better pitcher in the league than the nine-year veteran. His resume includes a National League Rookie of the Year, two NL Cy Young awards, an ERA title and four All-Star selections.

Yet there is an element of risk that comes with signing him, especially since he will surely command a major salary as one of the top prizes on the free agency market.

After all, deGrom is 34 years old and coming off two injury-marred campaigns. DeGrom started just 11 games in 2022 and 15 in 2021, which is a far cry from the durability he showed earlier in his career.

Not counting the shortened 2020 season, deGrom started at least 22 games every year of his career since he entered the league in 2014. That included a stretch of four seasons with 30 or more starts, including when he posted a league-best 1.70 ERA in 2018.

There was also something of a dropoff, even in a limited sample size in 2022, as he posted a 3.08 ERA compared to the 1.08 mark he had the prior season.

From the Braves' perspective, it seems they are focused on keeping their young core together after winning the 2021 World Series and reaching the playoffs for the fifth straight time this past year.

Giving deGrom a significant deal could limit some of the financial flexibility to keep that core in place, so Atlanta fans may need to look elsewhere if they are looking for an offseason addition.