Sources: With Jacob deGrom not giving Mets chance to match, team moves to Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander / USA TODAY Sports/SNY treated image

About an hour after learning from his general manager, Billy Eppler, that Jacob deGrom was signing with the Texas Rangers, Steve Cohen wished the pitcher well, and eyed the future.

“I wish him well,” Cohen told SNY on Friday night. “He has the right to choose his team. Now this team has to move on to the next thing.”

That next thing will be Justin Verlander, who — according to a source — is now “front and center” for the Mets. If they do not land Verlander, they are also pursuing Carlos Rodon.

Verlander is not a fallback plan for the Mets, who have been enamored of him throughout the free agent process, and tempted to pivot to him from deGrom anyway. That’s not to imply that Cohen and the Mets did not want deGrom; they did, but never would have offered him the five-year $185 million deal that Texas extended to the former Cy Young Award winner.

According to sources, deGrom never gave the Mets the chance to make a last, best offer.

“By the time we heard from him, he was so down the road with Texas, it was happening,” a Mets source said.