Mets' Buck Showalter: Jacob deGrom 'really thought' he'd return to New York
The Mets have had an exciting offseason, retaining stars like Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo while bringing in new faces like Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, among others. The team also locked up NL batting champ Jeff McNeil to a new four-year deal.
But one of the biggest storylines was about a player they didn’t retain, as Jacob deGrom shocked the baseball world by signing a five-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
Mets manager Buck Showalter spoke with NJ.com’s Bob Klapisch earlier this month, and among the topics they discussed was deGrom’s departure, with Showalter saying deGrom wanted to return to New York.
“Yes, I do,” Showalter responded when asked if he thought deGrom was happy in New York. “I just talked to him the other day. He said, 'Someday I’d like to sit down with you and explain what really happened. I really thought I’d be back there.'”
At the same time, though, Showalter understood deGrom’s reasoning for taking a lengthier deal in Texas.
“I’ll take him at his word, but I think it’s pretty simple: the Rangers made him an offer that was light years ahead of everyone else,” Showalter told NJ.com. “Plus, there’s no state income tax (in Texas) and he was looking for a place to spread out. He’s got it. Jake will be happy there and he’ll pitch well. He was great to have around, he was always good with me.
“But the thing is, Jake is from rural central Florida. He just wants to be left alone to pitch. We’ll miss him, but I can’t dwell on it at this point.”
Shortly after deGrom agreed to his deal with the Rangers, SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino reported that deGrom never gave the Mets the chance to make a last, best offer.
“By the time we heard from him, he was so down the road with Texas, it was happening,” a Mets source told SNY.
Showalter made it clear that the Mets did in fact want deGrom back, but at the end of the day, the Rangers’ deal was just too good to turn down.
“Everyone would’ve liked to have Jake,” Showalter told NJ.com. “We had a chance and took steps to make it happen. But Texas made him a lengthier offer."