Jacob deGrom Should Skip Opening Day
During his Mets career, Jon Niese was seemingly an excuse a minute. If anything went wrong, he fell to pieces. If he had a poor start, there had to be another reason why other than the fact that he pitched poorly.
There was one-time in his career that he had a valid excuse. On July 24, 2015, Niese took the mound against the Dodgers. In three innings of work, he allowed six runs on eight hits. It was a horrendous start. A huge reason why was his head was somewhere else. While he was toeing the rubber at Citi Field, his wife was in labor in Ohio. He had to rush to the dugout to get on FaceTime to see his son being born. Niese claimed this day messed up his entire season.
Up until that point, Niese had a 3.36 ERA. He would finish the year with a 4.13 ERA. Being a parent is hard. Being a pitcher is hard. Maybe, just maybe, there was something to this Niese excuse.
With that in mind, the Mets should just skip Jacob deGrom‘s start and fly him down to his home in Florida. His wife’s due date has come and gone. If his wife goes into labor, he has a two hour flight. This doesn’t include getting to the airport, landing, and going to the hospital. Long story short – if his wife goes into labor, and he’s in New York, he’s missing the birth.
It’s not worth it. There’s nothing I would’ve traded to be there when my son was born. Every parent feels the same. He should be there now. His wife needs him, and his team doesn’t need him yet.
Due to baseball’s inane scheduling, the Mets have plenty of options to pitch on Opening Day. Matt Harvey can pitch on full rest as can Bartolo Colon. Steven Matz hasn’t pitched in over a week now and could move his start up one day. Also, the Mets could turn to the long man in the bullpen, Logan Verrett, and let him make a spot start like he did so well last year. That’s four pitchers the Mets can reasonably use to pitch on Opening Day.
If the Mets slide Verrett into the rotation temporarily, the Mets will not need deGrom until his wife has given birth. The Mets can even call-up another pitcher like Erik Goeddel or Sean Gilmartin, who can also make a spot start, due to Major League Baseball’s paternity leave.
It’s important for deGrom to be in the right mindset whenever he takes the mound. No one wants him up there pitching while his mind is somewhere else. Also, what do you do if he gets the call while he’s on the mound in the second or third inning? No one is warming up. You can’t just pull him off the mound. You also can’t keep the news from him while someone warms up in the bullpen. It’s a dilemma.
It can be best resolved by not pitching him. Let him go home and see his son get born. Let him take the mound when he can focus on baseball instead of peeking in the dugout to see if his wife has called.
Starting a game when his wife was in labor led to an awful start from Niese. As he will tell you, that start caused him to pitch poorly the rest of the year. There’s no reason to risk deGrom to the same fate. The Mets should skip deGrom on Opening Day. Jacob deGrom should be home with his wife right now.