Jacob deGrom has been connected to the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and others in MLB free agency. And the majority of people are expecting him to sign with one of those teams. But a small-market dark horse recently emerged in the deGrom free agency sweepstakes. Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Tampa Bay Rays have spoken with deGrom’s representatives.

The Rays are certainly not known for dishing out big money to free agents. But there was a time when they were rarely even mentioned in the same conversation as high-profile players. But that changed last year when they were reportedly interested in Freddie Freeman. Tampa Bay also recently gave Tyler Glasnow a contract extension. So although their Jacob deGrom interest is surprising, Tampa Bay has displayed increased aggressiveness as of late.

But can they actually land deGrom this offseason?

The majority of reports suggest that teams will not be able to out-bid the Mets for Jacob deGrom. The Yankees and Dodgers obviously can challenge them, and the Rangers and Cubs have money to spend. Unless the Rays dig as deep into their pockets as they can, it is difficult to imagine them signing deGrom in free agency.

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With that being said, nothing should be completely ruled out. The Rays have been competitive in recent years, but they are desperate to win a World Series championship. And Jacob deGrom is a Cy Young caliber pitcher who could take them to new heights.

We will continue to provide updates on Jacob deGrom’s free agency.