Judge, deGrom, Verlander, Correa, Arenado


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How much is an electric, but oft-injured pitcher worth? The two-time Cy Young winner is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, but given his numerous stints on the IL, the Mets’ righty likely won’t be worth as much on the market as his stats would indicate.

That makes deGrom the perfect signing candidate for any team willing to take a massive risk on a starting pitcher — aka any team in dire need of an ace or with enough depth to withstand him missing chunks of time. That screams the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Toronto Blue Jays to me.

Adam Wainright is likely headed into retirement, and while St. Louis has a lot of talented starters, the Cards don’t have anyone who changes the game. Nobody in that rotation strikes fear into opposing batsmen. The deGrominator would change that. That said, St. Louis’ focus will likely be on re-negotiating Nolan Arenado’s contract (more on him later) and the Cardinals aren’t known for making massive moves in free agency anyway. The Red Birds acquired both National League MVP favorites Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt via trade.

Toronto has three great starters in Kevin Gausman, Alek Manoah, and Ross Stripling, but free agent splash Jose Berríos didn’t turn out how the team hoped. Even if deGrom ends up missing more time in 2023, the Blue Jays would be fine with banking on a bounce-back from the former Minnesota Twin. However, deGrom would be that ace in the hole that would cover all their bases, if he stays healthy. That said, there haven’t been any links between the Blue Jays and the four-time All-Star. That’s not the case for the final team.

Around the middle of the season, ESPN insider Buster Olney tweeted that the Mets’ NL East rival would be the favorite to land deGrom should he opt out of his contract. Well, it seems that deGrom will do so, and Atlanta makes perfect sense. Do the Braves need the former Rookie of the Year? No. Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Charlie Morton, and Spencer Strider are a fearsome foursome. There’s almost no room for the 34-year-old. He would put the Braves over the edge, however. A rotation of that magnitude hasn’t been seen from any team other than the Dodgers — they have three to four aces every year — since the 2011 Phillies trotted out Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Vance Worley (he was good at the time). Given the mutual interest, Atlanta seems the most likely option.

Prediction: deGrom goes down to Georgia



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