Mets rumors: Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon options at MLB Winter Meetings after Jacob deGrom departure

Justin Verlander Mets
Justin Verlander (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Life post-Jacob deGrom has officially begun for the Mets — an event that in the majority of the franchise’s first six decades of existence likely would have ushered in a new dark age. 

But this is the Steve Cohen era; a big-spending club that still wasn’t given the courtesy of presenting a best and final offer for deGrom, who bolted for Texas with a five-year, $185 million contract from the Rangers in hand.

Per reports, the Mets’ initial offer was at three years worth $120 million, which provided a larger average annual value than the Rangers’ $37 million per season. Yet it appeared deGrom had no legitimate interest in staying with the organization he rose to stardom with.

Of course, retaining the 34-year-old two-time Cy Young Award winner certainly wasn’t the only plan on Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler’s radar. The GM himself said that he wasn’t going to wait for the deGrom domino to fall to address the rest of the starting rotation. Granted, that might have been reserved for the middle or bottom portions of the rotation, not the very top where deGrom once inhabited when healthy.

Do baseball fans remember when Steven Matz’s representation spurned the Mets and went to the St. Louis Cardinals last winter? Cohen laid waste to the market and gave Max Scherzer a record-setting deal and traded for Chris Bassitt in a work-stoppage-buzzer-beating spree that also yielded Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha.

Apparently, hell hath no fury like a Mets owner scorned — and it’s safe to assume that the Mets have a contingency plan or two that will be executed at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings from Sunday to Wednesday. 

It appears that 2022 AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is a top priority for the Mets to provide an elite arm to pair with Scherzer. 

While he’ll be 40 years old next season, the right-hander was brilliant in his first full season back from undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. He went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA, 0.829 WHIP, and 185 strikeouts in 175.0 innings pitched.

Carlos Rodon
Carlos Rodon (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Carlos Rodon, who turns 30 this Saturday, is also being viewed as another big-ticket option for the Mets. The righty went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.028 WHIP, and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings pitched with the San Francisco Giants in 2022 — his first with the team.

It continues his ascent as one of the top pitchers in baseball after an unassuming start to his career. After going 29-33 with a 4.14 ERA and 1.379 WHIP over his first six pro seasons with the Chicago White Sox, he’s 27-13 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.998 WHIP since the start of 2021.

The Mets, though, will have much more work to do on its rotation outside of finding a replacement for deGrom. Another arm to fill a 3-5 role in the pitching staff is also a necessity considering Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker also opted out of their contracts for free agency this winter.

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