As the Mets continue their bizarre and fortunately unsustainable stretch of not scoring runs when Jacob deGrom is on the mound—to be fair, their opponents aren’t scoring any, either—I’ve come across the same woeful opinion over and over: The Mets are wasting Jacob deGrom’s talent, and they should trade him to another team where he can be happy, accumulate all the wins he deserves, and win a Cy Young Award. It makes me want to barf.
The Mets may be better off trading deGrom in the same way that they would have been better off trading David Wright. The team appears to be entering a barren stretch of seasons in which the loaded powerhouses in Philadelphia and Atlanta make a postseason berth unattainable. If deGrom is traded for some young players who turn into good players, then New York could be back on the track to first place in the future instead of the distant future.
That’s a cold, hard way to look at the Mets’ situation, but if the team feels that it’s better off moving deGrom, it should do so. But it shouldn’t do that just as a favor to its best player.
I wonder if Mets fans who say they want deGrom to be traded actually feel that way. Maybe some fans get something out of watching a former player succeed on another team, but that’s not the case for this writer. It’s the players who get paid to do their best, no matter how much run support or luck they have to play through. The fans pay for cable, internet, tickets, and merchandise to follow the team, and those prices don’t go down if the payroll suddenly drops.
So why do fans feel bad for deGrom? He’s not the first good player to ever play for a bad team. He’s not the first Cy Young award candidate to possibly get overlooked because his supporting cast is lousy. MLB’s most prestigious honors have always been team awards dressed up as individual ones. That’s why David Wright didn’t win the 2007 NL MVP despite his 30 home runs, 34 stolen bases, and .963 OPS.
deGrom might be the next Mets star to get the shaft, but he also has a great chance to get out of this no-decision rut if the team can start hitting just a little bit. Even if the right-hander only makes 15 more starts in 2018, that gives him a shot at posting enough “victories” to make the Cy Young voters happy. Plus, he’s still got a “perfect” 4-0 record right now no matter how many of his starts the Mets have failed in.
In other words, there’s still a lot of baseball to play. More than 100 games to get a team that was talented enough to win 11 of its first 12 games back on track and into the Wild Card hunt. Besides, even if the Mets continue to be bad and destroy deGrom’s chances of winning a Cy Young, he’s still doing plenty this year to earn what every pitcher really wants: a lucrative, long-term contract when he becomes a free agent.
If the Mets don’t want to offer him that, I’m probably going to feel worse for my fellow fans than I do for deGrom.