It's shaping up to be quite the offseason for Major League Baseball free agency. A ton of top-level talent is available on the open market, and Jacob deGrom is the cream of the crop when it comes to pitchers.
He won't come cheap, but that doesn't mean suitors will be few and far between. A reunion with the New York Mets, the only team he's ever known at the pro level, is not out of the question, but the two-time Cy Young winner will have plenty of options.
Here are the current MLB odds for teams favored to land deGrom.
Jacob deGrom next team odds
|Team||Odds to land Jacob deGrom|
|New York Mets||-130|
|New York Yankees||+550|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+800|
|Boston Red Sox||+1,500|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1,800|
|San Francisco Giants||+2,200|
|San Diego Padres||+2,500|
|Los Angeles Angels||+3,500|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+7,000|
|All other teams||+10,000|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of November 29, 2022.
The situation at a glance
Jacob deGrom, when healthy, is the best pitcher on the planet. This really isn't up for debate. Over parts of nine seasons, all with the Mets, deGrom is 82-57 with a 2.52 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings (10.91 K/9). He was named NL Rookie of the Year in 2014, won back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019, and has been named to four All-Star rosters (admittedly, this feels low).
His 2018 season, in particular, is one of the best pitching campaigns in recent memory. He was notoriously held to just 10 wins due to almost zero run support from the Mets offense as he posted a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings of work.
And while the narrative around the 34-year-old is that he's never healthy, it's still a relatively recent development. Forearm tightness crept up in July of 2021, landing him on the IL. Elbow inflammation followed and deGrom wouldn't pitch again until August 2022 after suffering a stress reaction to his right shoulder in spring training. Yes, the injuries are concerning, but they aren't necessarily a harbinger of what's to come. Besides, he still posted a 3.08 ERA (2.13 FIP, 1.54 xFIP) in 64 1-3 innings after being reinstated.
Ultimately, deGrom doesn't appear concerned as he opted out of his contract after declining his $30.5-million player option for 2023.
Favorites to land Jacob deGrom
New York Mets (-130)
Last winter, the Mets signed right-hander Max Scherzer to a two-year, $86.67-million contract with a $43.3-million player option for 2024. This was supposed to form one of the most dominant 1-2 punches in any rotation in baseball history. But deGrom missed more than half the season and Scherzer, himself, landed on the shelf. Now, that partnership may end after only a glimpse.
Could the Scherzer deal have played a part in deGrom opting out? Did he see one of his older peers get a higher annual salary than what he's owed in the next year, prompting him to cut ties and test the market? More likely, this scenario played out with less animosity than that suggests, but it's probably apparent that the best pitcher in MLB could also be paid like it (not that his $30.5-million option was anything to sniff at). And the injuries, while potentially behind him, could also be pushing him toward long-term security — a longer deal with a slightly lower average annual value (AAV).
The Mets can afford him regardless of luxury-tax implications as owner Steve Cohen has the deepest pockets in all the land. The Mets suddenly need pitching help after they had an incredible amount of depth in 2022 as Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker are also free agents. While the Mets could also theoretically pursue Aaron Judge, the offense is in decent shape with Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and others still on the roster, so deGrom will be the priority.
Atlanta Braves (+330)
Seeing deGrom bolt for the division-rival Atlanta Braves would be a tough pill to swallow for Mets fans, especially after Atlanta swiped the division title at the last possible second. And imagine the rotation if this came to fruition: deGrom, Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, and Charlie Morton would be as formidable a Top 5 as you'd find, and that's without considering the potential return of long-injured right-hander Mike Soroka.
The Braves may, however, not be as involved in the deGrom sweepstakes as some will speculate. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently wrote that Atlanta is highly unlikely to sign the veteran hurler due to future payroll obligations for the rest of its young stars. And with the amount of excellent pitching already on the roster — though none at deGrom's level — he may be viewed as a luxury the team can afford to bypass.
Nevertheless, the Braves remain the betting favorites to sign him if he doesn't re-up in Flushing, though maybe there's a reason not to jump on that number.
New York Yankees (+550)
While a deGrom-Gerrit Cole pairing would be incredible, this seems far-fetched despite the fairly short odds available. For one, the New York Yankees will be doing everything in their power to re-sign Aaron Judge, which will cost a pretty penny.
With Cole already under contract for $324 million over the duration of his deal and Judge likely also pulling in north of $300 million should he re-sign, can the Yankees really be expected to have three players earning around $30 million per season? Obviously, the Steinbrenners could absorb the cost, but nothing in recent memory has suggested they would.
And while the Yankees could emerge as a player for deGrom if Judge moves on, the Bombers will be in dire need of boosting the offense that is suddenly missing its best bat.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+800)
This scenario has more intrigue than either the Braves or Yankees. With Clayton Kershaw back for another season, deGrom would help form a phenomenal 1-2 in the rotation akin to what was expected from his tandem with Scherzer in Queens. The Los Angeles Dodgers still have Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Ryan Pepiot, but will likely seek to upgrade and deGrom would certainly fit that bill.
And with Walker Buehler returning from Tommy John surgery in 2024, the Dodgers would be fairly set atop the rotation with deGrom in tow.
If outfielder Cody Bellinger gets non-tendered, that would free up some payroll in addition to Trea Turner exiting via free agency. So, there's a path to deGrom landing at Chavez Ravine.
Texas Rangers (+1,500)
The Texas Rangers are probably the most interesting team in the theoretical chase for deGrom, though both the Cardinals (+1,800) and Giants (+2,200) are expected to be adding payroll this offseason, which makes them compelling options as well.
The Rangers have already reached out to deGrom's agent, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, and there have been reports of mutual interest in him signing in Arlington. The Rangers made two massive splashes in free agency a year ago by inking middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to lucrative long-term deals.
So far, Texas has addressed the rotation by trading for Jake Odorizzi and having Martin Perez accept the $19.65-million qualifying offer. They join Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, and Glenn Otto as the current internal options to be in the Opening Day rotation. The Rangers had been linked to Texan Clayton Kershaw each of the past two offseasons but he's elected to rejoin the Dodgers both times.
Adding deGrom would be an immediate difference-maker, and give Texas a puncher's chance in an increasingly competitive AL West (not counting the A's). And don't forget that the Rangers have high-end pitching prospects like Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker in the pipeline, so deGrom could only be the first step toward a dominant Texas pitching staff in 2024 and beyond.
Odds for other high-profile free-agents
Trea Turner, shortstop
|Team||Odds to sign Trea Turner|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+450|
|New York Yankees||+500|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+600|
|Boston Red Sox||+850|
|San Francisco Giants||+1,100|
|Los Angeles Angels||+3,500|
|New York Mets||+4,000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+6,500|
|All other teams||+10,000|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of November 29, 2022
Trea Turner is maybe the best fantasy baseball player in MLB. That honor belonged to Mike Trout for ages, but the speedy infielder has possibly taken that mantle. Projecting as a glove-first, stolen-base machine when he came up with the Nationals, Turner has evolved into a power threat, cracking 49 home runs over the last two seasons. He's a five-tool star in both fantasy and reality.
The Phillies, who just cut Jean Segura loose, appear to be the top option to sign the 29-year-old. In that situation, Bryson Stott would likely take the reins at second base. Adding Turner to a lineup that already features Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, and Nick Castellanos would be a huge boon and he would also help shore up a putrid defense.
Obviously, Turner could return to the Dodgers or land in the Bronx to help fill the Aaron Judge void if the outfielder leaves the Yankees. He could also, in theory, pivot to second base like he initially did in Los Angeles when Corey Seager was still in town. And while signing with St. Louis might seem unlikely with Tommy Edman and Nolan Gorman up the middle, he did enlist Cardinals superfan Jon Hamm to narrate his sizzle reel.
Trea Turner is one of the top free agents in baseball.— Front Office Sports (@FOS) November 7, 2022
Before free agency officially begins on Thursday, Turner sent a highlight reel to teams across MLB.
The reel is narrated by star actor Jon Hamm.
Hamm is represented by CAA — the same agency that represents Turner. pic.twitter.com/b4BmMYZtBs
Carlos Correa, shortstop
|Team||Odds to sign Carlos Correa|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+550|
|San Francisco Giants||+750|
|New York Yankees||+750|
|Boston Red Sox||+800|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+1,000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+2,200|
|New York Mets||+4,000|
|All other teams||+10,000|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of November 29, 2022.
Correa opted out of the final two years of the $105.3-million contract he signed with the Twins last offseason to test free agency once again. This time, he's unencumbered by a qualifying offer as he received one last winter and a player can only receive it once over the course of his career. This means, any team signing Correa will not surrender a compensatory draft pick for the honor. The same can't be said about fellow free-agent shortstops Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson.
The Twins are interested in a reunion over a long-term deal and are among the favorites to land him after he hit .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs in 136 games. The Phillies at +700 may shift focus to him if they fail to sign Turner.
But the Cubs are the surprise early favorites in the Correa market. Chicago brass apparently met with Correa's agent Scott Boras, according to NBC Sports Chicago's Gordon Wittenmyer. Now, this could mean interest in Correa but it could also indicate the pursuit of Bogaerts, Carlos Rodon, Josh Bell, or others also repped by Boras.