There were rumors during the 2022 season that Jacob deGrom had his sights set on joining the Atlanta Braves this offseason. Of course that didn’t come to fruition as deGrom agreed to a five-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers earlier this week. But, the Braves did have discussions with deGrom according to a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Atlanta Braves — a team that may well have been deGrom’s first choice — also engaged in discussions with deGrom’s representatives, but stepped away as the bidding spiraled upward in recent days.
When the Braves re-signed Charlie Morton to a one-year, $20 million deal in September, they theoretically rounded out their rotation. But in recent weeks, Atlanta explored the possibility of signing deGrom. He would have led a rotation that would also include Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Spencer Strider and Morton — as an NL evaluator said, “Can you imagine a rotation where you have Charlie Morton as the No. 5?” Additionally, the Braves would have staggering depth behind that group, because Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder and other starters in the Atlanta system all have options to ferry to and from the minor leagues, as needed.
But as Steve Veltman, deGrom’s agent, pursued talks with the Rangers, it was evident that the final contract would go beyond the Braves’ comfort level.
It is worth mentioning that all free agent rumors should be taken with a grain of salt and placed in the proper context, especially those that occur after a player has signed with another team. Still, this sounds like more than due diligence on the Braves’ part.
It always felt like the only path to deGrom for the Braves would be on a short deal given his sizable injury history. Once the offer got beyond two or three seasons, it isn’t surprising that Atlanta bowed out.