In what started out to be a historical season for Jacob deGrom, was ultimately derailed by an elbow injury, which turned out to be more serious than the Mets initially led on.
DeGrom has not pitched since July 7 after being diagnosed with right forearm tightness, and then later, right elbow inflammation, as discovered on July 30.
But as team president Sandy Alderson revealed in early-September, deGrom has actually been dealing with a UCL sprain/partial tear of the right elbow, which saw him get shut down from throwing for a full month.
However, the Mets have been aware that deGrom's situation was far worse than just inflammation for quite sometime.
Despite acting general manager Zack Scott, who is now on administrative leave for a DWI charge, persistently underselling the severity of deGrom's issue, this proved not to be the case.
On August 18, a source told Inside the Mets that deGrom was 99.9% done for the year, as his MRI results were "concerning."
At the time, the Mets were still calling deGrom's case inflammation. But five days earlier, he traveled to Los Angeles to be examined by elbow surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who saw slight improvement on the imaging results.
Two weeks later, the elbow had healed enough to resume a light throwing program on August 25, which was a promising sign.
As Alderson told reporters in September, deGrom's ligament is fully intact and the issue seems to have resolved itself.
This wound up clearing the ace to be able to start playing catch again, and he has now finally begun throwing off the slope for the first time in two months.
With the season winding down, deGrom threw his second side session on Saturday, which manager Luis Rojas said was likely between 10-15 pitches.
Although, Rojas is unaware of a set date for when deGrom will face live hitters. But with only 14 games left to play, deGrom is running out of time to ramp himself up, even to toss an inning or two at the big-league level, let alone stretch out to be able to go five innings, as a starter.
An additional source told Inside the Mets that the team's plan was to have deGrom go through a spring training routine, which typically takes a pitcher 4-6 weeks to build up their arm.
When looking at the timeline, deGrom resumed throwing in late-August, and the regular season ends on October 3, which didn't leave him with the best odds to make it back in time anyway.
According to the same source, the Mets were always going to take things slow with their prized arm, even if they got back into the playoff race, as he is too important of a piece to risk losing in the long-term.
As this source also noted, if deGrom can't make it back before the season ends, the Mets are hoping he can throw a simulated game in October in order to eliminate any lingering question marks for his status heading into next season.
Based off what has transpired, it seems as though the Mets have been fully aware that deGrom's season was all but over for at least over a month now. But they have still not confirmed this, as he continues to slowly progress in his throwing program.
Regardless, you should not expect to see him on the mound in a big-league game for the remainder of 2021. And deGrom's fate has likely been sealed since at least mid-August.
Prior to his latest injury, deGrom had a 7-2 record, 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP and 146 strikeouts through 15 starts (92 innings).
And despite his season getting cut short, deGrom will still become the first Met in franchise history to post at least 50 innings with a sub-1.10 ERA in a single campaign.