Jacob deGrom is a member of the Texas Rangers now, but Joe Benigno isn't fretting about the loss.
deGrom landed with the Rangers on Friday, inking a five-year deal with Texas. There had been a sense much of the season that deGrom was eyeing a way out of New York. Even as he missed much of the campaign with injuries, he was adamant that he was going to opt out.
While he never outright closed the door on staying with the Mets durng the season, it didn’t sound like something he was particularly interested in.
Thanks to the revamped MLB scheduling format that ramped up interleague play, deGrom and the Rangers will travel to Flushing next season for a three-game set that begins Aug. 28.
The longtime WFAN host said in his weekly appearance on “Tiki & Tierney” that he wouldn’t dismiss the idea of deGrom pulling a Noah Syndergaard.
"Well first of all, I wonder if he would even pitch against the Mets," Benigno said. "First of all, he might be hurt, he may try to pull a Syndergaard and duck them. That wouldn’t surprise me either. I think he gets a mixed reaction (at Citi Field). I think you’re going to get guys that are going to cheer him and guys that are going to boo him."
In the case of deGrom, it is tough to determine how his return will be met. Although he was the Mets ace for years, he has a long injury history and his apathy at the end wasn’t the best conclusion to the relationship.
“I think it’s 50-50 (he gets booed). Most of the younger Met fans, this is their guy,” Benigno said. “But look, deGrom never wanted to be here. He wanted to out of New York, the Mets didn’t even really even aggressively try to re-sign him. I don’t even think they wanted him either.
“He gets hurt all the time, and let’s be honest, the 101-win season last year, deGrom was not really a factor at all for that team. … This is clearly not on the Mets, they are not the bad guy in this.”
The Mets responded well to the departure by signing Justin Verlander to a two-year deal on Monday. That news trickled out shortly after Benigno’s appearance on T&T, but it’s halfway to his ideal offseason.
“I guess I want Verlander. My only concern, obviously, with Verlander is the guy is 40 years old,” Benigno said. “I know he had a tremendous year last year, but he missed two years before that. Carlos Rodón, you know what, why not both of them? Why not? I would sign both of those guys. Sign Verlander and Rodón, I’d re-sign (Brandon) Nimmo. That’s the other thing too guys, they’ve got no bats on this team, they’ve got to sign some more — Trea Turner is another guy I would go after.”
There’s plenty for the Mets to do this offseason, but, clearly, Benigno doesn’t see the loss of deGrom as something that will mar the winter.