He’s Leaving Home

deGrom walks off mound
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He, … (we gave him most of our lives)Is leaving (sacrified most of our lives)Home (we gave him everything money could buy)

Jacob deGrom is leaving home, bye bye.

The Texas Rangers announced that they’ve signed the two time Cy Young award winner to a five year $185 million contract tonight. It worls out to be $37 million a season with no state tax. Perhaps Steve Cohen would have made up the tax difference in the AAV, but five years was probably too big a pill to swallow. At least that’s how it would have been if the Mets were given a chance to make a final offer. However …

Baseball players get to do free agency once in their lives, if they’re lucky. By way of his two Cy Young awards and an otherworldly dominance for six weeks after coming back from a year long injury, he earned the offer that the Rangers gave him. In a perfect world, Steve Cohen gets a chance to make him that offer and bring him back to us. But as we have learned in our time here on earth, our world is far from perfect. It’s how I felt when Jose Reyes bolted to go with the Marlins. Of course, that was a little different. Reyes also went to a team in a state that had no state income tax, but he left a team that was far from a 101 win outfit on the rise. You would have thought that a team that had been his home for many years and was finally back in a position to compete for a World Series title would have held at least a little sway for deGrom. But they didn’t even make it to the Winter Meetings with a shot at getting him back. As much as I hate to admit that Jon Heyman (and only Jon Heyman) was right, the Mets never had a chance because deGrom’s mind was made up. He wanted more money, less media, and a chance at winning the World Series which is on the same level as “hey, we’re not the Pirates.”

He's Leaving Home
Sep 21, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I guess this is the point that we as fans and me personally start rationalizing that “we didn’t want him at that price anyway” or “he was trash down the stretch so good riddance to him for going for the money”. And maybe this is the “Matz Moment” of 2022 where Steve Cohen tells Billy Eppler to release the hounds and go get Kodai Senga and Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner and Nimmo can come back too and maybe Vladimir Guerrero’s medicals look good now. Maybe this is a chance for the Mets to spend a little younger than Justin Verlander and keep this success at a sustainable level. Of course, you would hope that the Mets didn’t have to lose Jacob deGrom to make this happen. But now that it’s reality, it’s an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. Or chicken soup into chicken salad.  Or turn Steven Matz into Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Starling Marte and Mark Canha.

But rationalizing doesn’t change the gut punch that was one of the best pitchers of his generation turning towards the Mets, and by extension their fans, and saying “see ya.” I know that’s not the right way to frame it, because as I said near the top: baseball players get to do this once, if they’re lucky. And if they get their chance, us Met fans are not part of the equation. It’s just reality. The only people that Jacob or any free agent have to consult are the members of their immediate family, after they search their own souls, of course. We may be left to pick up the pieces, but the one thing that gives me a little piece is that when it’s all said and done, Jacob deGrom gave us the best years of his career. Someone else may be paying for it, but those two Cy Young awards, the Rookie of the Year award, the two wins against the Dodgers in the NLDS … those belong to us, even of deGrom doesn’t anymore.

In reality it was he who gave us everything money could buy … along with a few things that money can’t buy. That’s something to be thankful for, even if it hurts at the moment.


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