deGrom Sweepstakes: Should the Dodgers Pursue Jacob deGrom?

The 2018 season has been a roller-coaster ride full of depressing lows and tremendous highs. At the moment, the Dodgers have a winning record and are riding a hot-streak in which they have won 20 of their last 27 games. Furthermore, they have done all of this without their perennial ace in Clayton Kershaw.

They are a game and a half back of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the National West lead. The turnaround is evident as the Dodgers attempt to achieve their 6th consecutive National League West division title.

This would be a remarkable feat. In order to accomplish this task, the Dodgers will need to continue to play winning baseball and most likely will need Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill to return and pitch well in the second half of the season. But as any Dodger fan will tell you, another NL West title is not enough.

It is time for the boys in blue to bring back a World Series title. To be set up best for such a run, the Dodgers will need the assistance of an elite starting pitcher acquired via trade. Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets may very well be the best option as the trade deadline approaches at the end of July.

Current Starters

The Dodgers have had mixed success among their current starters to date. While not performing in an elite status, the starters have held their own this season while largely having ace, Clayton Kershaw, unavailable. Here is the breakdown of the Dodger’s current starting pitchers of note.

  • Clayton Kershaw

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 8, Record: 1-4, ERA: 2.76, WHIP: 1.122

o   Under contract through 2020 (opt-out option after 2018) @ $35,571,429 a year

  • Ross Stripling

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 9, Record: 6-1, ERA: 1.76, WHIP: 1.010

o   Under contract through 2018 (arbitration eligible 2020) @ $555,000 a year with free agency in 2023

  • Kenta Maeda

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 11, Record: 4-4, ERA: 3.61, WHIP: 1.308

o   Under contract through 2023 @ $3,125,000 a year

  • Rich Hill

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 6, Record: 1-2, ERA: 6.20, WHIP: 1.743

o   Under contract through 2019 @ $16,666,667 a year with free agency in 2020

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 14, Record: 2-5, ERA: 4.22, WHIP: 1.179

o   Under contract through 2018 (arbitration eligible 2019) @ $6,000,000 a year with free agency in 2020

  • Walker Buehler

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 9, Record: 4-1, ERA: 2.63, WHIP: 0.955

o   Under team control (arbitration eligible 2021) @ $545,000 a year

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu

o   2018 Stats – Games Started: 6, Record: 3-0, ERA: 2.12, WHIP: 0.876

o   Under contract through 2018 @ $7,833,000 a year with free agency in 2019

o   2018 Stats – N/A

o   Under contract through 2018 (arbitration eligible 2021) @ $550,000 a year with free agency in 2024

What is immediately visible about the Dodger starters is the number of contracts that will expire after the 2018 season. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, and Julio Urias all possess contracts that are completed after the current season. Could it be possible that Mets may take in return for deGrom a pitcher or two from the Dodgers? Most likely not but the youthfulness and potential of Buehler and Urias might be tempting. The Dodgers will need to focus on negotiating current starting pitcher salaries in the off-season. Furthermore, of the 4 starters who are earning more than

Walker Buehler’s successful start may earn him a Rookie of the Year Award in 2018.

$1,000,000 a season, only Alex Wood has not seen the disabled list this season. It is becoming abundantly clear that the starters that the Dodgers are paying big money to have not necessarily been reliable thus far. Rather, the likes of Walker Buehler and Ross Stripling have carried the team. Together Buehler and Stripling have a combined 10-2 record, 2.19 ERA, and 0.982 WHIP.

If the Dodgers wish to make a deep playoff run this year it is clear that they will need a boosted starting rotation. This boost may come either by health and improved performance or by the addition of outside help. Ideally, the Dodgers will pursue both options. This will require them to hit the trade market for a reliable arm heading into October and beyond.

The Target

Jacob deGrom should be the Dodgers’ number one priority at the trade deadline this season. deGrom has not only been the Mets’ pitching ace for the last 5 seasons, he also has been selected to the 2015 NL all-star team. In addition, he was the NL rookie of the year and has been among those considered for the Cy Young award twice. Currently, deGrom is well on track to finish first in the 2018 NL Cy Young voting. The only reason deGrom’s win totals are low is because he is pitching behind a horrid offense in the Mets that aren’t supporting him at all. Below are deGrom’s current stats on the season:

  • Record: 4-2
  • ERA: 1.55
  • WHIP: 1.008
  • K’s per 9 innings: 11.6
  • FIP: 1.99

These are other-worldly numbers. To put these stats into perspective, let’s look back at Randy Johnson’s reign of terror from 1999-2002 in which he won 4 consecutive Cy Young awards.

  • Record: 81-27
  • ERA: 2.48
  • WHIP: 1.044
  • K’s per 9 innings: 12.4
  • FIP: 2.53

Obviously, this comparison is only so helpful as Johnson accomplished his stats over 4 continuous seasons where deGrom is barley on the precipice of half a season. However, we need to realize that deGrom’s numbers this season are likely indicative of things to come in the future seeing as his career numbers have remained incredibly consistent in the elite categories across all of baseball. In fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons pitching it is not uncommon for starters to take their game to the next level and soar to new heights. Does the name Clayton Kershaw ring a bell? In his fourth season in the big leagues Kershaw put it all together and won the NL Cy Young for the first time. We may be seeing the same phenomenon happening with deGrom and the Dodgers will want to be a part of it.


This year deGrom is making $7,400,000 and is only under contract through the end of 2018. He becomes arbitration eligible in 2019, meaning that he will have power to negotiate his contract and pay with the team who held his contract at the end of 2018, which currently would be the New York Mets. The best part? deGrom does not become a free agent until 2021.

The Dodgers have more financial room to make an agreeable offer to deGrom and sign him for years into the future. They should be able to afford to bring his salary on after the end of the season for the 2019 and 2020 seasons before he hits free agency. It is obvious enough that the Dodgers will place themselves front-and-center in the bidding war for Bryce Harper this offseason which will demand a large wad of cash. Furthermore, you may remember that Clayton Kershaw has the option to opt-out of his current contract and test the free agent market. This is now very unlikely seeing as Kershaw has been injury plagued and will likely remain seated with the Dodgers making $35,571,429 a year until 2020. So, if the Dodgers play their fiscal cards right, they should be able to potentially land Bryce Harper and pay deGrom, for the next couple years, in the same offseason. This is all made possible by their concerted efforts to reset the luxury tax the past two years due to limited spending.

The Cost

Of course, signing such an elite talent in deGrom comes with high costs. Not only will the Dodgers have to dish out massive amounts of money, they will likely be forced to part with key players within the organization. The following are players that will likely be targeted in return for deGrom from the Mets in some sort of combination:

Walker Buehler

As horrific as it may seem for Dodger fans, securing deGrom from the Mets will require a key piece from the Dodgers with the key characteristic of raw talent and proven ability, a seemingly impossible combination. Walker Buehler fits that bill perfectly. It would be a crying shame to trade away home-grown talent such as Buehler which would go against the Dodgers’ historic track record of keeping the farm under lockdown. But, if it would mean a title in 2018 would it be a shame if the Dodgers did not move? Ask the Houston Astros if sending their

Apr 28, 2018; San Francisco, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) strikes out with the bases loaded in the first inning of their MLB baseball game with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

number 3, 9, and 11 ranked prospects at the time for a playoff-monster Verlander was worth it.

Yasiel Puig

Before you shout heresy from the rooftops consider the fact that Bryce Harper will likely be heavily targeted by the Dodgers. Now, in the assumption that the Dodgers land Harper, consider Puig’s predicament. Firstly, Harper plays right field, a position that the Dodgers will no doubt hand to him. It would be difficult to move Puig to left due to a scorching Matt Kemp. It would be even more difficult to move him to center due to starter Chris Taylor and a streaking Joc Pederson. Secondly, consider that Puig and Harper are MLB’s two most arguably passionate and vocally aggressive players in any team’s clubhouse. Imagine those two in the same dugout.

Furthermore, the Mets currently have aging Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, and Jay Bruce sharing left and right field duties. Doesn’t a young, brimming with potential Yasiel Puig sound more appealing to a ballclub that is about to empty house and rebuild with young talent?

Young Prospects

Oct 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Glendale Desert Dogs outfielder Alex Verdugo of the Los Angeles Dodgers during an Arizona Fall League game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Undoubtedly the Mets will be looking for a number of young players with promise in return for deGrom. The Dodgers always have such talent available in their top-of-the-line farm system. Cather Keibert Ruiz recently ranked top 30 in Baseball America’s 2018 prospect rankings. Furthermore, outfielder Alex Verdugo shows

immense potential as a franchise center fielder even though he has not had a real chance to shine for the Dodgers yet in his career.

At the end of the day, the Dodgers are looking to win a World Series. Should this happen, it will be primarily a result of the work of Dave Roberts and his current players who came a game away from tasting true glory last year. However, imagine the relative ease the Dodgers would have compared to last year’s playoff run if they had a healthy and effective Jacob deGrom. Follow that up with an equally healthy Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers would be all but impossible to stop.

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://dodgersnation.com/dodgers-four-years-later-kershaws-no-no-still-a-fan-favorite-bs0193/2018/06/18/”]Kershaw’s 2015 No-No[/button]

Eric Morse

Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Eric has always had a love for baseball. Growing up visiting LA often to watch the Dodgers, Eric comes from a long line of Dodger fanatics. He spends his time ministering to youth and following the Dodgers.


  1. Should the Dodgers pursue deGrom at the trade deadline this year?
    A no-brainer – YES!!
    He is the best pitcher in baseball this year and the only chance the Dodgers have to get back to the World Series.
    Remember what he did to LA in 2015 – won games 1 and 5, in LA, against Kershaw and Greinke repectively!

    1. Thanks for reading the post, Jim. Yes pursuing deGrom would be an incredible shot in the arm for the Dodger rotation. However, the cost would be extremely high likely requiring us to deal Buehler and another few prospects. A world series would be worth it tho!

  2. No. First of all, Friedman pursuing Harper is very, EXTREMELY unlikely, and giving up a raw young talent like Puig is the most ludicrous idea in favor of keep an aging slugger like Kemp, no matter how great he has been this year. And if you were to give up Puig, and Verdugo, that’s two impact outfielders the organization is down when the next greatest impact outfielder is DJ Peters, who’s still at least two years from the majors. That leaves Kemp (a free agent, by the way, next season, and a candidate for the Dodgers to sell high on and try to move again this upcoming offseason), an inconsistent (though improving) Joc Pederson, and Chris Taylor, whose peripherals show that this season’s stat lines are more or less what you are going to get from him and that last year was more a result of a high BABIP. Second of all, why give up a controllable Walker Buehler for six+ seasons for a guy who will be a free agent two seasons after this one, no matter how good he is (and DeGrom is elite)? Maybe Buehler is the key to winning this year’s title and many more. You never know. Lastly, I’m sure the Astros are thrilled with their title, but I’m sure they are equally ecstatic about the fact that they didn’t give up their number 1 or 2 prospects like you wrote. The only way, if I were in such a position, I would give up Buehler is if I’d get both DeGrom and Syndergaard in return, but there’s a higher possibility of the Cubs going on another 108 year drought than that ever happening. I would LOVE, more than anyone, for DeGrom to come to the Dodgers. But not at the cost of our top pitching prospect (and top pitcher this season), an impact major league bat and elite defender, an impact outfield prospect who I believe will be called up once more this season and stay all the way through the World Series run, and a power-hitting catcher prospect who has a real chance to be a star (rare from this position). DeGrom starts with a trade centered around Yadier Alvarez (and believe me, even I’d be hesitant of that), not anyone else.

    1. I would make the trade for De Grom in a heartbeat. This is one of those rare guys who can make a difference in a way like Verlander and Max Scherzer who along with Degrom might be the three best pitchers in baseball. Pitchers who are about to close to perfection as you can get in baseball terms. Almost like a hitter with a .400 average. De grom is as good a pitcher as I have ever seen since Kershaw. Put him and Kershaw on the same team and the Dodgers would be unstoppable to beat in the playoffs where great pitching usually decides championships as we found out in game 7 last year when Yu made us all blue with his terrible that cost the Dodgers in game 7 against Houston. Taking a risk of this magnitude would bring the Dodgers to the promised land for the first time in 30 years.

    2. Gotta agree with Steve, no way in Helsinki would I be willing to give up buehler (if it were up to me), Verdugo, or Puig. First off, who takes Puig’s place if we trade him? Bryce Harper is a National, so trading Puig in a package for Degrom this season leaves a hole that I don’t believe Verdugo is ready to fill. Second, the Dodgers don’t need Bryce Harper, we have Alex Verdugo who will be paid league minimum versus 30m a year for (in my opinion, an overrated) Bryce Harper, if anything the Dodgers should go after Machado this offseason since Forsythe is going to be a FA and Justin Turner is 33, can play 2B, and is only here for two more seasons after this one. Third, YES, the Dodgers SHOULD trade for Degrom, but not for the players listed in the article. I am seeing over and over teams getting great players and receiving scrubs in return, the Kelvin Herrera trade, Royals give up a good reliever for next to nothing, and don’t even get me started on the Gerrit Cole trade… Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, and Jason Martin for Gerrit Cole!? That’s like the Dodgers giving Brock Stewart (who headlines the deal BTW), Wilmer Font, Kyle Garlick, and Rob Segedin for Gerrit Cole who is currently 8-1 2.59 ERA, 2.89 FIP 12.3 K/9, the Pirates gave up their ace for two pitchers with lifetime ERA’s above 4.40 and two guys who someday MIGHT be as good as Kike Hernandez. I’d offer Yadier Alvarez (even though I love his effortless velocity), Keibert Ruiz (since we still have Will Smith), Dustin May, Edwin Rios, and one of Layne Somsen, Josh Sborz, or Andrew Sopko to try and get it done, those guys are a hell of a lot better than anything the asstros gave up for Cole, that I know for sure.

  3. You mention in the article that “Kershaw has been injury plagued and will likely remain seated with the Dodgers making $35,571,429 a year until 2010”, I think we are past 2010.

  4. De Grom, yes, trading Buehler, no. And why do some writers think it’s obvious the Dodgers willbgo after Harper? He is so overhyped. Look at his career stats, good power, avg batting avg, avg rt fielder. Good player? Yes, superstar? No friggin way!

  5. Every since Friedman came on board we haven’t done squat to really be contenders. Every time a player who can help us is available, you end up reading how the Dodgers “missed out” on another player. Every new player we sign is another teams reject. Because of this policy we will be lucky to even make the playoffs this year.
    The Dodgers rarely even try to use a player from thier own farm system, and when they do it is for one game.
    We don’t have a true “Hitter” we don’t have a true “Ace” Our bullpen is an absolute joke. We are only 5 or 6 players away from being competitive. But if the Dodgers stay “As-Is” we won’t even win the division. This article about obtaining DeGrom is a pipe dream & will never get him, As we won’t even put forth the effort.Friedman is a joke, he hasn’t done a thing for the team and he never will. So kiss the 2018 playoffs goodbye.

    1. I think you went full donkey here. They picked up Yu Darvish, who at the time was considered “overkill” on a spectacular team. No one could have predicted he would poop the bed like he did in game 7. The team as they built it is performing insanely and the pick ups they made are better than anyone could have imagined (CT3? Muncey? Keeping Buehler when people like you were asking to trade him? etc. etc.). They consistently have one of the top pitching staffs and are setting records with their offensive output. They came one boner away from winning the WS. I think your standards are a little.. whats the word… stupid? ill-informed? irrational? Trumpian.

  6. I feel like with the outfield depth we have this season (Kike, Toles, Joc, Kemp, Taylor – who is free from his SS duties now, Verdugo in the wings, Bellinger if needed, etc.) we can afford to build a package around Puig and Urias for Degrom. You got to give up something good to get something good and Degrom is no Yu Darvish. If he was, we would be sitting on a WS championship already. I’m willing to give up Urias and Puig and their potential if it increases our chances of a WS win this year, ESPECIALLY if we have Machado for the remainder of this year. Really, why are you worried about Puig and Urias’ potential if the goal of that potential being realized is winning a WS? We improve on that score right now by adding Degrom. I think giving up on Buehler is a bridge too far because he has the potential to be transcendent and even better than Degrom. Hold that chip, but shove all in with Puig and Urias as the center pieces for Degrom, now.

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