Tom Seaver is now in Jacob deGrom’s sights.
The shortstop-turned-pitcher at Stetson University won his second straight Cy Young Award on Wednesday, gathering 29 of the 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The Mets ace earned these words of praise on Twitter from the guy who used to be his agent: “Another amazing year,’’ Brodie Van Wagenen tweeted. “Winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards is a testament to @JdeGrom19’s work ethic and commitment to his craft. Congratulations Jacob! #GOAT’’
Yes, deGrom is the GOAT — or maybe deGOAT.
He is widely respected throughout the game by opponents, much like Tom Brady is in the NFL. That is your NFL GOAT.
And just as the Patriots quarterback has Bill Belichick in his corner, doing whatever he can do to get the GOAT back to the playoffs year after year, with Brady winning the Super Bowl six times, BVW needs to guide his deGOAT to much greener pastures.
The 2015 run to the World Series can’t be all there is for deGrom, who by winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards has put himself in Hall of Fame company. Seaver never won back-to-back, but he won three Cy Young Awards — 1969, 1973 and 1975 — making him Tom Terrific.
The ’69 Miracle Mets won the World Series. The Mets, of course, have won only one other World Series in their existence, that in 1986. Every time deGrom spoke this past season he made it a point of emphasis to say the team needed to get back to the postseason.
Sure, he wanted to win a second straight Cy Young Award, he is driven, but, deGrom hungers for the big October stage.
Over the last two Cy Young seasons deGrom has thrown 421 innings with a 2.05 ERA and owns a 21-17 record for all that magnificent work. He has struck out 524 batters over that span. He signed a five-year, $137.5 million extension right before his first start of the 2019 season and lived up to every penny of that contract this past year.
“In 2015, the entire playoffs into the World Series, that was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball and that is why you play this game,’’ deGrom said Wednesday night. “That’s the ultimate prize for the best team and that’s what you are trying to do.
“We showed that we have a good team in the second half. If we could have done that all year we would have been right there. I think that was something to build on from this last year and that’s the goal into next year, to put all these pieces together and play really good team baseball from start to finish.’’
DeGrom is as close to a sure thing as there is in all of baseball.
Van Wagenen keeps talking about building a better bullpen and it blew up in his face last winter with the acquisition of Edwin Diaz. He needs to do much better this year. The plan needs to be foolproof.
The Mets can’t waste this level of excellence any more.
Yes, what a November for the Mets. Too bad October was such a zero. Van Wagenen’s Mets have won two major awards. Pete Alonso won the Rookie of the Year and now deGrom has won his second straight Cy Young.
Individual hardware is great. Team hardware is where it is at.
The postseason résumé for deGrom contains four starts, all made in 2015 when the Mets lost to the Royals in the World Series. He is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA. Imagine if Brady only made it to one Super Bowl.
The deGOAT longs for the postseason spotlight. He deserves it.
The Nationals’ Max Scherzer made it clear this October that three Cy Young Awards were great, but winning the World Series is true happiness. In February on a quiet spring training morning, Scherzer told me his goal wasn’t to win another Cy Young but to finally win the World Series.
After the Game 7 win over the Astros, Scherzer said it perfectly: “We fought together, we stayed in the fight and we won the damn fight. We did it.’’
Here’s hoping that Jacob deGrom’s Mets can get in the damn fight in 2020.