The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Jacob and the Jilted

All hail the free market! All hail labor empowerment! All hail the ability of the Texas Rangers to commit as many dollars and years as they choose to Jacob deGrom, and all hail Jacob deGrom’s ability to choose to take the dollars (185 million of them) and years (five, carrying him past his 39th birthday). Enabled by the miracle of the collective bargaining process, we get to see the American way in action.

Isn’t that just swell?

The Rangers figure they’ll benefit from deGrom’s right arm doing its wondrous thing for as long as it can. DeGrom will benefit from being paid at a level commensurate with his level of achievement stretching back the past five years. And Rangers fans will have a closeup view of a pitcher described regularly and with minimal hyperbole by the acronym for Greatest Of All Time.

The only people who might lose out in this scenario are us, the jilted Mets fans who will not see Jacob deGrom continue his essentially incomparable career as a Met. Nine years and out for Jacob, whom I’m no longer in the mood to refer to as “Jake” or deGOAT, for that matter. Jacob exercised his negotiated right to opt out of his contract. Leave a door open on a goat pen and bet on whether the goat will wander away (the commissioner of baseball will gladly process your gamble).

And now it is done. Jacob deGrom is a former Met. I imagine at some point the franchise pitcher on whom we hung our hat and pride since 2014, especially since 2018, will issue a statement thanking the Mets and Mets fans for their support to date. He’ll probably say something out loud when he tries on his new jersey and cap in Arlington or over Zoom from DeLand. I think he’s enough of a mensch to stand and deliver that much. Maybe it will be supplemented by a social media gesture, the contemporary version of departing free agents taking out full-page newspaper ads. We used to rely on daily newspapers. We used to rely on Jacob deGrom.

Month’s off to a heckuva start.

Those were the days, my friend. Even allowing for cynicism, I kinda thought they’d never end. Why should have they? At every turn, Jacob deGrom exulted in the exultation we as Mets fans devoted in his direction. We shrouded him in our affection, we waited with longing and loving for his return from various trips to the injured list, we stood and swooned over his Lynyrd Skynyrd-scored simplicity. Sure, he’d opted out of his very nice if not absolutely nicest possible contract, but that contract was signed when the signatory on the other side of the pact was a Wilpon. You knew Steve Cohen could take care of business as needed.

Except in Texas, bidness is bidness, if you will indulge the stereotypical oil baron dialect, and their version of Cohen decided it would be great for bidness to take care of bidness to the extreme, offering Jacob deGrom those five years, which math will tell you is two more than the three the Mets apparently put out there. The average annual value for deGrom in New York was reportedly a little more: $40 million per annum versus $37 million. The total was a lot more from Texas: $185 million over five years versus $120 million over three. DeGrom doesn’t have to do math like he does pitching to do the relevant math.

The relevant emotion to a certain strain of Mets fan, perhaps best classified as the unsentimental kind, is how few innings Jacob deGrom threw between July 7, 2021, and August 2, 2022: 0. Intermittently during his Met run, particularly in the most recent years, Jacob became one of those sitcom tropes. Vera from Cheers. Maris from Frasier. Captain Tuttle from M*A*S*H.

“Anybody seen Jake?”
“Ah, ya just missed him.”
“What, again?”
“Don’t sweat it. He’ll be back soon.”

The relevant emotion to a certain strain of Mets fan, perhaps best classified as the sentimental kind, is how few innings Jacob deGrom threw from his debut of May 15, 2014, forward for any team that wasn’t the New York Mets: 0. That data point paired with the hope that Jake (had he stayed here, that’s what I’d call him) would become that rarest of birds, the elite Met starter who was nurtured in the nest and never flew the coop. We know it’s never happened before. We have learned it is not likely to ever happen again.

Once you let deGOAT opt out of his pen, there’s no telling where he’ll seek greener pastures.

The “elite” nature of deGrom was never in question, save for a little collar-tugging and throat-clearing at the sight of Jake maybe running out of petrol in sixth innings as his late-starting 2022 wore on. I chose to believe he was still getting up to speed after not pitching in the major leagues for thirteen months. I chose to believe his excursions to the IL were the exception, not the rule. I chose to believe a lot in Jacob deGrom. I believed he wouldn’t leave us. You can’t always get what you believe.

You can get a replacement. You have to. Emotionally, I’d be OK with inscribing No. 48 on the Citi Field mound and everybody going home the first time what would have been his turn comes up, but business doesn’t work that way, and what would have been his turn will come up approximately 32 times in 2023. The Mets will sign some very fortunate free agent pitcher, whoever it will be. That pitcher’s negotiation position just rose substantially. We don’t have deGrom, but we do have Cohen. This takes the sting out of the news in a way unavailable to us when the Mets were under previous ownership.

It’s all still wrong, mind you. Jacob deGrom slipping into the uniform of the Texas Rangers is wrong. Somewhere in this great country, somebody thought Max Scherzer slipping into the uniform of the New York Mets was wrong, but we cheered it. His wardrobe change gave us the pair of Aces to die for. It gave us a helluva rotation in theory last offseason and in reality for a couple of months. It didn’t yield a division title or a playoff series win. That loading up of Aces worked to its fullest extent only once for Atlanta when they had Maddux, Gl@v!ne and Smoltz, and it never completely panned out for Oakland when they had Hudson, Zito and Mulder. You never know with September and October. But you liked heading into the end of a season and the beginning of a postseason with the likes of deGrom and Scherzer.

Now we’ll go into the beginning of the season with Scherzer and whoever. We’ll look back on nine years of deGrom less and less while he’s doing whatever he does as an American League Westerner. Every time I want to do one of my historical dives about Met starting pitching, there will be an implied ruefulness and an explicit wistfulness to bringing Jacob deGrom into the conversation. One year, it’s all “we” and “our” for a player you understood could take a hike but didn’t really think would. The next year, he’s “former” and “erstwhile,” and we’ve moved on because we have to. Someday down the road, far down the road if the former and erstwhile Met is lucky, he will have a reason to come back in a ceremonial, celebratory capacity. We have Old Timers Days again. At the one we had this year, we warmly greeted Jose Reyes who left to be a Marlin and Daniel Murphy who left to be a National. That, we should all live so long, comes later.

For now, it’s just business.

27 comments to Jacob and the Jilted

  • Jacobs27

    This business has me bummed out.

    But thanks for writing this piece, Greg. It helps a little.

  • 9th string catcher

    Oh no! We won’t have deGrom for 12 starts next year. No deGrom choking down the stretch. How will we will 96 games next year like we did in ’22? How will we find someone with a 3.08 Era?

    Maybe deGrom will have another Scherza like 5 year stretch of dominance. I have my doubts. Realistically speaking, you can’t keep throwing 101 mph and make it through a whole season. He’s proven that. He will either get injured or lose velocity (or both). Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t see him ever pitching at that level for a full season ever again.

    And also, I’m sick of the insane greed these guys have. 64M guaranteed isn’t enough. Why? How much do you actually need? How much do any of these guys need? It’s nauseating.

    The other thing that makes me feel fine about this is that it’s the Rangers who made this deal. If there’s another organization better at throwing away salary on bad deals (other than 90s Era Orioles or Anaheim), let me know. Can’t wait to see 37 year old degrom coming back from his 18th IL stint

    Enjoy Arlington, Jake. We’ll find your 5 wins somewhere else.

  • Seth

    Or, he’ll make a Verlander-style comeback and we’ll be even sorrier. We just don’t know.

  • eric1973

    He is just not worth the 40 mil a year for 5 years that it would have taken us to sign him. Simple as that. Maybe we’ll get a guy who can stay on the field for more than half a season.

    A case can be made that he cost us first place by insisting on throwing 100 miles an hour every goddamn pitch, rather than pacing himself so can be effective for 7 or 8.

  • Curt Emanuel

    I was very torn on if I wanted him re-signed or not. Conversations with myself that went like the old “tastes great!” “Less filling!” commercials.

    Though my version of self-dialogue went:

    “Best pitcher on the planet!” and

    “Sure – for 100 innings a season.”

    I ended up deciding that whatever Cohen decided was fine with me. And I hope that by next April I can set aside my current petty desire that this turns out to be a bad deal for Texas. There’s no harm to us if he strikes out 300 batters/year each of the next 5 seasons. It’s that other league after all.

  • Rudin1113

    Will be fine with a perfectly respectable 85-90 win season and go to the WS just like the Phillies. And without the incessant hagiography regarding one particular pitcher on the part of GKR…especially a pitcher who can’t get past the 6th.

  • Bruce From Forest Hills

    Good luck, Jake! I think the pitchers the Mets have to sign now are Bassitt and Walker. Even if the Mets have to overpay them. Both pitchers proved they can win in New York.

  • Jones61

    December Second, Two Thousand Twenty-Two
    A date that will live in infamy.

  • Bob


    Met fan since The Polo Grounds….


  • Eric

    Steve Cohen’s Mets salary fund isn’t as sure a thing as I had hoped. This kind of loss wasn’t supposed to happen with Cohen, at least not when the Mets need pitching and deGrom can still pitch. In the end, deGrom re-signed with the Wilpons but not with Cohen.

    At least deGrom went away unlike Murphy to the Nationals and Wheeler to the Phillies.

    It sucks. DeGrom was a beloved homegrown Met for 9 years. He was the centerpiece of the post-Wright Mets. Plus, part of me still yearns for deGrom game 6 in Kansas City. For a moment I thought we might climb back to that stage in 2022. Obviously that closure will never happen now.

    I’m sad that the homegrown staff of aces (Wheeler and Syndergaard included) has all gone. Though with several holes in the Mets rotation, I would like to see Syndergaard come back home after his year away rehabbing on the Angels and Phillies’ time and dime.

    If the Rangers get the miss-time and good-not-great-who-tires-in-six deGrom of the past 2 seasons, I’ll feel better. If deGrom returns to Cy Young form in Texas, that’ll hurt.

    • Seth

      You can’t keep someone (already rich) who wants to leave, no matter how much money you throw at them. You’d have to ask Jacob why he wanted to leave.

      • Eric

        Start with, as reported, a Rangers offer of 2 1 more years with potentially 100 million more dollars than the Mets offer. The question is why the Mets didn’t even offer deGrom as much as the Scherzer and now Verlander contracts.

        On the other side, the question is why, as reported, deGrom didn’t come back to the Mets with the chance to match the Rangers offer.

  • steve

    24 hours later and I’m still…upset.

    Strawberry, Gooden, Reyes, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and now deGrom – all home grown players, all amazin.

    Dickey, Flores, Conforto – one a unique weapon who reached greatness with the Mets, the other two home grown favorites.

    Nimmo? I hope he stays. I have a special connection there, though he doesn’t know it.

    Cynics will say we root for laundry, but that’s nonsense. We root for the kids we see come up from the minors and represent hope; sometimes they become great and sometimes they become something else. Sometimes, some very rare times, they become special. It feels very Metsian to me actually. Young pitching in particular.

    I’ll root for deGrom every time he pitches for the Texas Rangers unless he is facing the Mets and even then I’ll probably hope he dazzles for a few innings before the bullpen blows it. I believe he knows that script and the one where the offense does nothing for you and you lose.

    Now, though, I’m just sad.

  • Dave

    I’m trying to look at the bright side, the components of which include: he didn’t wind up in Atlanta; he didn’t wind up in Philadelphia; he (most importantly) didn’t wind up in the Bronx; he wound up with a team that has literally never been on my radar screen; and said team that avoids radar detectors are taking a big risk, because while everyone loves triple digit fastballs and baseball is by no means filled with hitters who look forward to being on the receiving end of 95mph sliders, Jake is likely throwing his arm.

    Jake never gave me the impression that he loved being a Met or that he loved Noo Yawk. So maybe, as people with no idea are saying on the remnants of Twitter, he’s a red state kind of guy, or loves that Texas has no state income tax, or wants his family to live in a quieter environment…who the f knows. All I know now is that the owner who likes to make a splash should make a splash soon.

    • Blair M. Schirmer

      @dave Good points all.

      I’ll venture Jake also clearly saw the travesty that was Cohen’s first year at the helm, a year that would have fit in comfortably among the worst of the Wilpon years, along with the ongoing continuity in a Mets medical staff that abetted David Wright’s ruination.

      He also saw its wicked treatment of Nimmo while Nimmo was injured; him and others, especially the old and injured players it was willing to watch be played into the ground and onto the DL and IL. That was the work of a medical staff and a front office, much of which is still present in the organization. Money only papers over so much.

      Small wonder deGrom didn’t want to offer the Mets the chance to match the Rangers’ offer. Why would he, when he had so many reasons other than money to leave?

    • Curt Emanuel

      Dave, your points re where he didn’t go were excellent.

      “or loves that Texas has no state income tax”

      With this, he is probably getting about the same money for each of five years there as he would have at $40m per in NY for 3. Can’t blame him for taking that deal and I heard this a.m. on the radio that he has an option for year 6 at age 40 – I haven’t double checked on that or know any details.

  • Blair M. Schirmer

    “Enabled by the miracle of the collective bargaining process, we get to see the American way in action.”

    —The MLBPA, an association of wealthy men, has little to do with unions in the U.S., unions which don’t exist to abet the selling one’s labor to the highest bidder but rather to try, often vainly, to keep working people from being crushed by the rich.

    As for deGrom, Texas probably saved the Mets from themselves. Unless payroll was going to well over $300m, the Mets adding deGrom’s 100 or so innings for 2023 wasn’t going to get them past the Phillies, let alone the Braves.

    The Mets are an old team, getting older. Cohen bought a team with a strong, inexpensive core, and in a couple of seasons turned it into a team that won’t seriously contend for the division even with a $300 million payroll. That’s impressive, in its way.

    One poor offseason, then a second offseason that buried the team for the forseeable future…. Don’t these guys have a whiteboard, never mind a clue?

    As for collective bargaining, it is indeed miraculous, something working people have only enjoyed for a small percentage of recorded history—Congress’s recent bypassing it on behalf of a handful of wealthy railroad owners notwithstanding, something far more representative of “the American way in action” than anything the MLBPA might do. Cheers,

  • Dave

    Last sentence of my first paragraph is supposed to say “…throwing his arm off.” Nobody throws their arm, they throw baseballs. And when they throw every pitch as hard as humanly possible, they throw their arm off.

  • Blair M. Schirmer

    I confess I half expect to see deGrom’s right arm midway between the mound and home plate no later than July, 2024.

  • richard porricelli

    We can finish in 2nd or even 3rd place and win the pennant with or without him.. Forget it boys and girls I’m sure he has..

  • Seth

    So wait, I’m confused. Jacob is voluntarily choosing to go the rest of his career without a WS ring?

  • Lenny65

    It may be a minority opinion, but watching deGrom pitch in 2022 was no fun at all, and to be totally honest, I’m not going to miss that aspect of it too much. Sure, he was totally dominant for five inning stretches, but so what? It wasn’t like the 2022 Mets enjoyed some great boost from his return. IMO we’ve already seen his best, and from here on out he’s going to continue to be an erratic risk. IMO relying on him to anchor a rotation is a mistake, as I just don’t think he’ll ever be able to shoulder a real #1 workload ever again. I just don’t believe he’s the kind of player who’s going to “reinvent” himself as Greg Maddux or something, and given his style, he’s always going to be one pitch away from disaster.

    Of course, I’ve been way, way off before, and perhaps I am this time too. He’ll definitely be missed, a lot, and hopefully his injury woes are behind him now. But to be totally honest, as bummed as I am about losing him, I’m just not devastated about it.

    • Great take, Lenny. I wouldn’t be surprised that teammates froze up because they needed to support the “goat”. And really, a great 6 inning pitcher is still a 6 inning pitcher. It’s the problem I had with Wheeler – he would always run up his pitch count so he was usually gone by the 7th. In deGrom’s case, you’re holding your breath waiting for him to get through an inning without another injury. Exhausting.

      And finally, when we needed just 1 win down the stretch, he failed. Couldn’t beat the Cubs. Couldn’t beat Oakland. Couldn’t beat the braves. Dominating he was not.

      I’ll give up one good year in return for not getting four bad ones.

  • open the gates

    So I’m not going to do the sour grapes routine. Jacob deGrom was quite simply one of the three best pitchers the Mets ever had. There was Seaver, Gooden, and deGrom, then there was everyone else. And that’s a heck of an “everyone else.” He has the ability on any given day to be the best pitcher on the planet. He was ours, and now he’s not. Nothing will make that not stink.
    On the other hand, the guy kept trying to throw every pitch at 105 MPH. I don’t know if he was getting bad advice or not listening to good advice. Maybe the Mets think tank knows something we don’t. For his sake, I hope he learns to adjust to his aging body in Texas. Not all pitchers do.
    One other thing. The last time the Mets lost an ace to free agency, they got a compensation pick, a young guy named David Wright. Maybe there will be a silver lining again this time.

  • […] departure of deGrom (before we knew about the arrival of Verlander) didn’t put any more of a damper on this event […]