We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, using the contract FanGraphs suggests and have a poll to see if we would sign him for that amount.
Next up, Jacob deGrom.
Ben Clemens has deGrom as number 4 on his top 50 free agent list, Keith Law has him in the number 8 spot.
Jacob is older. He turns 35 in June of next year. And he’s had injury issues the last couple of seasons. But when he’s been able to pitch, no one has been better. This year he made 11 starts and had a 3.08 ERA. In 2021 it was 15 starts and a 1.08 ERA.
He gets a lot of strikeouts. 102 in 64.1 innings this year. Add in that he doesn’t issue a lot of walks and keeps the ball in the park, he does everything you would want from a pitcher. Well, except for making 30 starts a year. But then he made 30 starts a year from 2017 to 2019.
In Keith Law’s write up he says:
If you get that guy for even 25 starts, he’s worth $40-50 million. In 2018, he was worth 9+ wins above replacement just by himself. By fWAR, he’s been worth over 7 WAR in just the last two years, and that’s pitching around injuries. He’s the ultimate high-risk, high-reward free agent. Pitchers who’ve had injury issues usually don’t stop getting hurt suddenly at age 36 and then stay healthy for several years until they ride off into the sunset, but isn’t it tempting to think deGrom will be the exception? I think someone offers him $40 million a year on a short-term deal, no more than three years, and then white-knuckles through every morning’s medical reports until he’s through.
Justin Verlander commanded his current one-and-one deal at $25 million per year when he was four years older than deGrom is now and basically hadn’t pitched in 30 months. Even with the injury question, what should deGrom ask for? $35 million a year? $40 million? His salary might end up looking as fake as his rate stats.
So it depends on your comfort level. Are you ok with having maybe the best pitcher in baseball, while knowing he could spend a lot of time on the IL. Or, if you are spending a ton of money, would you be more comfortable with a pitcher who isn’t as quite as lights out but who you expect to make 30 starts (knowing that there are no guarantees that any pitcher will stay healthy. The human body wasn’t built to throw a rock 100 mph, snapping off at a spin rate that causes the rock to move in strange directions.
Ben thinks Jacob will get a 3-year contract at an amazing $47 million a year. Three years is the most I would ever offer him. Putting aside that I don’t think any man on earth is worth $47 million a year (except Minor Leaguer of course), what would you think of the Jays giving deGrom that contract?
The idea of his starting game one of a playoff series has strong appeal.
Should the Jays sign Jacob deGrom if the price is $47 million a year for 3 years?
This poll is closed
Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about it
Probably no, but I wouldn’t hate it
No, absolutely not