File this one in the ‘way out there’ category’. There’s a starting pitcher the Milwaukee Brewers should target, but no one is talking about. That’s Jacob deGrom from the New York Mets.
The Milwaukee Brewers still need to add a starting pitcher that they can put at the top of their rotation. Jimmy Nelson would fill that role, but he still lacks a time table for a return. The Brewers need an ace, and Jacob deGrom makes sense as a trade target.
What’s deGrom’s contract status?
deGrom is signed for 2018 at $7.4 million. He still has two more arbitration-eligible seasons. He can opt for free agency after 2020 if he doesn’t sign an extension.
Speaking of his extension, deGrom and the Mets have failed to come to an agreement on a long term deal this off season. deGrom seems content to go year-to-year, and then head to free agency.
How would the Brewers factor in?
Well, the Milwaukee Brewers are going ‘all-in’ for 2018. They still have a surplus of young, controllable outfielders that they could flip for a starting pitcher. Domingo Santana is thought to be available, unless the Brewers dramatically alter their lineup by sliding Ryan Braun to first base.
If Brewers GM David Stearns came to New York with a trade offer of Santana for deGrom straight up, would they say ‘no’? The Mets have Michael Conforto in right field, but Yoenis Cespedes is in left. Cespedes only logged 81 games last season and probably won’t factor into the long term plans of the Mets. The Mets will have to deal Cespedes if they move for Santana. That may be a stumbling block to a deal, but if Vernon Wells awful contract was traded, the Mets can find a new home for Yoenis.
Is deGrom an ‘ace’?
If deGrom arrived in Milwaukee, he would start on Opening Day, but no, he’s not really an ace. The Milwaukee Brewers rotation would improve with deGrom. However, he doesn’t move the needle the way Yu Darvish or Chris Archer would.
2017 was the first season deGrom logged over 200 innings. He posted a 10.68 K/9 with a 2.68 BB/9. His 3.23 xFIP indicates that his 3.53 actual ERA wasn’t completely his fault. deGrom is about as close as a pitcher can get to ‘ace’ level without actually being there.
Would the Mets really have interest in Santana?
They should. He’s a 25-year old right fielders with three arbitration-eligible season who just posted a 30-homer, 85-RBI season. However, a deal depends on if they think they can sign deGrom long term AND flip Cespedes before Opening Day. If the answer is ‘yes’ to the first question and ‘no’ to the second, there is zero chance of a deal.
Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns is known to work under the radar, and deGrom is an under the radar target right now. His contract extension talks haven’t gone well, and he could look to leave New York. The Brewers still have bats and arms throughout their system that they could send to the rebuilding Mets in exchange. The two teams are a match for a deal on paper, but it takes a lot more than a fan behind a computer to complete a trade. Stearns has shown that he works outside the box, and a trade for deGrom fits that profile.