MLB.com reporter panel discusses merits of each option
Signing free agents almost always There is a gamble involved, mainly because the older the player, the higher the risk of injury. Three veteran pitchers in particular will fetch big bucks in free agency this offseason — all three have had injury issues in the not-too-distant past. Through the bidding process, the team will have to decide whether the reward outweighs the risk.
For this, we submit to MLB.com A group of journalists asked this question: Among Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon, who is the best candidate to find a main force for the team?
Alyson Footer, Editor/Moderator:
This is an interesting debate because you really can pitch for each of our pitchers The reasons for and against are being discussed. There’s a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding all three pitchers, whether it’s age or injury history — or both.
If I had to be in Justin right now Hedging my bets between Wieland, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon, I think I’m leaning towards Wieland. Or maybe deGrom. It’s hard! how do you say?
Anthony Castrovince, Columnist/Reporter: My answer is…Kodai Senga?? In fact, he may be one of the group least risky.
Mark Feinsand, Executive Reporter: Castro, it’s funny you say that. That will be my answer too!
All three pitchers we’re talking about have Domination, but all with question marks.
Castrovince: The three of us actually, because of age, I think I’m leaning towards Rodón. Left shoulder fatigue in late 2021 scared some away (including the White Sox, who didn’t make him a qualifying offer), but he’s playing in 2022 and is the youngest of the three.
Sarah Langs, Researcher/Analyst: I think it really depends on which team we’re talking about. If you’re a rebuilding team, like the Orioles, I think Rodon makes the most sense because he’s the youngest and has the most room to continue growing. If you want to win the World Series next year, it could be Verlander or deGrom — of course, deGrom is more concerned about injuries.
Feynsand: If you’re talking about 2023 or even 2024, it’s Verlander. What he’s doing at 39 is nothing short of amazing. However, I don’t know if you can count on pitching at that level for more than another year or two.
but I agree if you take the long run Looking at it, Rodón is the safest pick — even though he’s the least talented of the trio.
I think Slangs have been very successful. The problem is the duration of the contract. How many years will it take to sign Wieland and deGrom? What Verlander wants most is the three years that [Max] Scherzer gets — and the risk increases with each pitch. DeGrom would be a fascinating free agent.
Anthony DiComo, Mets beat reporter: I think it’s kind of like, “What are you looking for?” Justin Verlander is Justin Verlander, but he Will be 40 years old on Opening Day. It’s fun to talk about the inevitable moments when he defies Father Time until he stops doing it. It gets harder every year. Jacob deGrom is Jacob deGrom, but he seems to have the widest range of accomplishments: from “the best pitcher in the world next season” to “there’s really not much left of that arm.” “. deGrom has a huge risk reward.
In terms of long-term potential, I actually I like Luo Dong because he has a way to get rid of his injury history. If so, he — at 29 — has the longest successful runway of any of these guys. But Rodón at his best is no Verlander or deGrom.
Feinsand: If I were a contender like the Yankees, Dodgers or Braves, I’d be looking at Verlander and deGrom. Give them a Scherzer-type AAV on a short-term deal. If I were the Rangers or the Orioles, I’d rather lock Rodon on a four- or five-year deal.
Footer: Before getting to the playoffs, I’d say Verlander is the closest thing you can get to a sure thing in this group. He was the unanimous pick for AL Cy Young. He has a completely reshaped elbow, which will likely allow him to pitch to 45, as he’s said in the past. But the playoffs still bug me. After a poor start in Game 1, he came out strong in Game 5 to redeem himself in the World Series, but he wasn’t dominant. I can’t help but wonder if, as time goes on, he’s hitting that wall earlier and earlier in October.
Language: I do think Verlander, despite being a playoff, doesn’t look like the typical pitcher who turns 40 on Opening Day. In the past three full seasons he’s pitched — 2018, 2019 and last year — he led the majors in WHIP. What he does is very replicable, even as he gets older.
We just don’t have anyone comparable to Verlander. He’s already created his own case study, returning from Tommy John at age 39 and throwing 195 innings between the regular season and the playoffs. What are its hysteresis effects (if any)? I wouldn’t bet on him after what he’s already achieved, but there’s no denying he’s trying to do something that hasn’t been done before. Before him, there had never been a pitcher his age coming back from TJ, or even a capable starter, let alone a Cy Young winner.
Language: He was the first man to win after pitching zero innings the previous year!
Feinsand: Verlander’s backup of course: Tom Brady!
But Sarah, no typical pitcher turns 40 on opening day. Pitching at that age is itself atypical. Over the past 50 years, seven pitchers have produced at least one five-win season in their 40s. Verlander is clearly good enough to join that group, but you bet there’s some serious power in there.
Footer: Verlander in his favor from the team’s point of view may be willing to accept a shorter contract, although the price Expensive, but it doesn’t lock the team down for five, six, seven years. That makes him attractive to many teams that are winning now. This limits his options, but almost guarantees he will get the money he wants.
Feinsand: I think the Scherzer trade is the blueprint for Wieland. Maybe two years, $85-$90 million — 2025 is an option.
Footer: Let’s look at it from a beat writer’s perspective, Tony… the Mets are tied to Verlander, obviously , deGrom. Do you think they favor one over the other?
All things being equal, I think the Mets prefer DeGrom. Part of it is sentimental: They love the idea of making this man one of the legends in their history — and apparently a part of deGrom loves the idea, too. But there’s some sound baseball thinking here, too. Sometimes, I feel like we talk about deGrom as if he’s already familiar. Yes, there are risks, but thinking he can be the best pitcher in baseball next season isn’t a leap of faith at all.
Language: This is one of those theories that I haven’t really delved into, but I feel like we often expect injury-prone players, especially pitchers, Tend to go back to the team they were on. Something about the team and the medical staff already know what they’re dealing with. I wonder how that applies to deGrom, but he’s not your typical pitcher either — because he’s deGrom.
Feinsand: Here’s the question: Is it better for a team to sign Senga and roll the dice on another like Nate Eovaldi or Jameson Taillon instead of all-out Verlander and/or deGrom? If I were a mid-level team trying to take the next step, I’m not sure that’s the way to go.
DiComo: I guess my question is, if you’re looking for short-term deals with high AAV, why not go to deGrom? That’s probably a bigger risk given his injury history, but it’s also probably a bigger reward because it’s likely to help you long-term. That might be a relatively even comparison for 2023, but once you start going into 2024-25, I have more confidence in deGrom than in Verlander.
Feynsand: Of course, if you’re talking about short-term deals, then 2024-25 probably won’t matter.
Castrovince: deGrom in both good and bad ways. When he came back at 101 [mph] in his first start of the year, it was both delightful and terrifying.
Feinsand: Feeling both enjoyable and scary at the same time is the perfect description for the general mood of a Mets fan.
The longer it goes on, the less I believe the Astros will re-sign Verlander. With six other strong starters, they really don’t need him.
Feinsand: The Astros seem to be more focused on first base (José Abreu? Josh Bell?) than the rotation.
Castrovince: Correct, the Astros don’t have the same incentive to play extra years or dollars as other contenders.
Another thing to note about Verlander vs. deGrom — unlike Verlander, he’s often pushed in the playoffs Beaten, deGrom has proven time and time again that he can hang on without his best stuff — check out NL Wild Card Game 2 for the latest example. Even when things start to go down for him, I love his ability to keep going. He has a dynamic from which he could get more value, and an underrated curveball that Max Scherzer began to encourage him to use more of last season. deGrom is a smart pitcher with the ability to evolve into his 30s.
Feinsand: Verlander is in his 30s. Now, it’s the 40s.
Castrovince: DiComo sold me on deGrom. Those guys are diBest.