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Yankees potential trade target: Jacob deGrom update

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Somehow the status of the Mets ace got even cloudier in a month’s time.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
The “I’m still on the Mets” look
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Last month, Brett Borzelli examined Mets ace Jacob deGrom as a potential trade candidate for the Yankees. He made an optimistic, albeit pragmatic, case for a trade. “The Yankees are in a unique position to help the Mets in all areas of need, without diminishing their own team,” Borzelli opined. “Would the Mets execute a deal with their crosstown rivals? They’d be foolish not to, especially if the Yankees make the best offer. Shunning the best package to avoid helping the Yankees would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

That ran on June 24th. In the time since, deGrom has done nothing but continue to pitch at the game’s highest level. He tossed eight shutout innings against the Phillies, eight innings of one-run ball against the Rays, and three runs over six innings versus the Marlins. That fits right in line with his season line of a 1.68 ERA (2.32 FIP). He’s going full 2000 Pedro Martinez on the league.

It’s fairly clear to see what’s driving deGrom’s success. The 30-year-old is experiencing a noticeable uptick in velocity in 2018. He’s throwing harder than ever. The right-hander has always had good stuff, but it’s been especially sharp in the first half.

Throwing harder seems to have obviously increased his effectiveness. Consider deGrom’s slider. He’s generating a significantly higher percentage of whiffs on the pitch at a time when the pitch has added velocity. As a pitcher in the midst of his peak years, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

It’s also no surprise that status of deGrom on the Mets remains as murky as ever. During the All-Star festivities, Brodie Van Wagenen, the right-hander’s agent, issued an ultimatum to the team’s leadership: extend deGrom and build around him, or expedite a trade. Per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News:

“Jacob has expressed interest to them about being part of a long-term future and a long-term plan,” Van Wagenen said during the player availability at the All-Star Game. “They have expressed some interest in that same level of commitment, but if that’s not their interest then Jacob understands this is an environment where they may be better off moving him to accomplish their long-term plan.”

For what’s it worth, it appears the Mets have no plans to trade their ace. Even if they do entertain offers, it doesn’t sound particularly promising that the Yankees would have enough to acquire him. Brian Cashman would have to pay top dollar for his talent level, plus a tax for the team being the Yankees.

These situations change all the time. A player can go from unavailable to traded in an instant. For now, though, it doesn’t look like deGrom will swap uniforms this season. That’s a shame, too, because as Brett discussed last month, it would be a win-win for the Yankees and Mets.