GM Billy Eppler on Jacob deGrom leaving Mets, what team is looking for in 'impact pitchers'

Aug 7, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field.
Aug 7, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom signed a five-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Dec. 2, he never gave the Mets the chance to make a last, best offer, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

GM Billy Eppler spoke to reporters Monday at the 2022 Winter Meetings in San Diego, and was asked if there was a level of disappointment that deGrom didn't circle back with the Mets before agreeing to a deal with the Rangers.

"I'm not going to get into any details on Jacob's situation," Eppler said. "We talked a number of times, we talked every single day leading into the week. But beyond that, not going to disclose any of the details of those conversations."

Eppler then said he congratulated deGrom via text on signing the $185 million contract and was happy for the 34-year-old and his family.

"I sent him a congratulatory text," Eppler said. "Thought he made the decision that made sense for him and his family. Was happy for him and wished him well. Told him I said, 'I'll miss seeing you on a regular basis.' Yeah, that was it, congratulations."

Eppler added: "He's a great pitcher, he gave Mets fans a lot of really good memories. Like I said, we wish him the best. Happy that he was able to make a decision that he felt was best for him and his family. We'll miss him."

Eppler went on to say that he "didn't really have much of a feel in either direction through the negotiations" to what decision deGrom was going to make.

On Monday, the Mets agreed to a deal with reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, filling the hole in the rotation left by deGrom. Eppler was asked if there's a specific number of pitchers the team is aiming at acquiring this offseason, as the team was determined to sign Verlander and a mid-rotation starter after deGrom left, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

"Really open to a number of them, doesn't matter," Eppler said. "If the situation presents itself and we could bring somebody that we see will really help in the run-prevention side of the things and it makes sense, we're open to it. Not beholding any particular number."

Eppler added: "If we are able to add an impact pitcher or a couple impact pitchers, that would be helpful. You know one of the things that I've said and we continue to try and stay mindful of is creating that run differential component. That can be done by scoring a lot more too. However that manifests we'll have to be open-minded to it."