Pitching-needy teams like the New York Yankees saw a prized possession come off the board Friday night.
Jacob deGrom, arguably the best arm on the open market this offseason, decided to leave the New York Mets and join the Texas Rangers on a reported five-year deal. deGrom’s move dwindled a starting pitching market that is top-heavy but isn’t particularly robust outside of the few free-agent aces.
Two of those high-end starters, Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodón, still are up for grabs as of early Sunday morning. The Yankees reportedly are talking to both front-of-the-rotation hurlers, but according to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, the Bronx Bombers are “more focused” on Rodón than Verlander. The inter-city rival Mets, meanwhile, are “more intrigued” by Verlander, the 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner who’s coming off another World Series win with the Houston Astros.
Heyman’s report isn’t terribly surprising. Rodón, one of the best left-handed starters in the game, turns 30 years old next week and theoretically could stabilize a New York rotation alongside Gerrit Cole for the next five to six years. Verlander, on the other hand, turns 40 in late February and reportedly is seeking a contract with an average annual value north of $40 million, albeit for likely three years at the most.
As such, Rodón makes plenty of sense for the Yankees, but it remains to be seen if another team beats the reigning AL East champions to the punch. New York’s top order of business appears to be trying to re-sign Aaron Judge, while another club very well could have established Rodón as its main priority.