SAN DIEGO — Billy Eppler’s final reaction to Jacob deGrom’s departure last week was to send him a congratulatory text.
“He made the right decision for himself and his family, and I wish him the best,” the Mets general manager said Monday at the winter meetings. “I told him, ‘I’ll miss seeing you regularly,’ but it’s ‘congratulations.'”
Eppler declined to give deGrom specifics about his offer and whether the right-hander was disappointed the Mets didn’t give him a chance at a final offer.
DeGrom received a five-year, $185 million contract from Texas. The deal includes a sixth option year that could increase the total value to $222 million.
“I’m not going to go into any detail about Jacob’s condition,” Eppler said. “We talked several times. We talked every day at the beginning of the week. But other than that I don’t want to reveal any details.
“He’s a great pitcher and gave Mets fans a lot of great memories. We wish him the best and are happy that he was able to make the decision that he felt was best for him and his family. We will miss him.”
Justin Verlander’s deal with the Mets is still not official, so Eppler would not discuss the team’s decision to add the 39-year-old ace to a two-year, $86.6 million deal.
Eppler was asked if the Mets can afford to pay two pitchers (Max Scherzer is the other) more than $40 million a year and deal with other downsides.
“You have to be creative in other areas and be open to doing things on the trade market if they present themselves,” Eppler said. “And just try to see if some value can present itself.”
Brandon Nimmo is meeting with teams this week. Eppler was asked where he stands with the free agent quarterback.
“Communications are still ongoing with Nimmo,” he said.
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy spoke with deGrom via Zoom call before Thanksgiving and was impressed with the news.
“I think what I took from him was how committed he was to playing for the winning side,” Bochy said. “He liked that we were in the process of building a winning culture at Texas.
“A very humble guy … he just wants to get on the field. And he’s also a guy who wants to be a good teammate, excited to hear what we have to offer him.
Ben Verlander revealed on his Flippin’ Bats podcast that his brother Justin was assured the Mets weren’t done with the offseason.
“It’s not the end of the Mets, and Justin was told as much,” Ben Verlander said. “It’s not the end, yeah, there’s a really good core there and the roster is good on paper. This team would be a winning team sitting now, but this team that we see now, this roster that we see, will not be the team that we see on Opening Day. I really believe in it and I know it will happen, and Justin is really excited.”