The Tampa Bay Rays are known as a small-payroll team, and for good reason.
When they extended shortstop Wander Franco, nobody could believe it: that’s how rare big contracts are for them.
That’s also why recent reports about them being interested in Jacob deGrom are so hard to believe.
They are true, though: the Rays are interested in deGrom.
That doesn’t mean they are likely to sign him, though.
“Jacob deGrom to the Rays? Tampa Bay checked in on the top pitcher available in free agency but are pessimistic about their chances. deGrom’s average annual value would represent about half the Rays’ club-record $83.9 million payroll in 2022,” The Athletic MLB tweeted.
Jacob deGrom to the Rays? 🤔
Tampa Bay checked in on the top pitcher available in free agency but are pessimistic about their chances.
deGrom’s average annual value would represent about half the Rays’ club-record $83.9 million payroll in 2022.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) November 30, 2022
deGrom had a right scapula problem in 2022, one that took him out of action for the entire first half.
Upon returing, he had a 3.08 ERA in 64.1 innings, but it came with a much better 2.13 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP).
deGrom Likely Won’t Approach 200 Innings Anymore
In 2021, he was almost untouchable with a 1.08 ERA, but suffered an array of physical issues and ended up pitching 92 innings.
Simply put, the team paying for deGrom’s expected salary (which should be in the $40 million per season neighborhood) has to know that he won’t pitch 200, 180, and maybe not even 160 frames.
However, the innings he manages to throw will be perhaps the best in baseball.
It’s a gamble that not everybody will be willing to take.
The Texas Rangers make perfect sense for deGrom besides the New York Mets, of course.
The Baltimore Orioles were linked to him a few months ago and are also a good match.
He would give the Rays an obvious edge, but it’s hard to see such a cost-conscious team splashing $40 million on a single player.