Dave Trembley is done covering for his pathetic Orioles

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Heading into the season, the common phrase bandied about regarding the Baltimore Orioles was “they’re on the right track.”

Sure, no one really expected them to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East, but at least they were stockpiling some promising young talent and looking like they had the potential to be contenders in a couple of years.

Well, the Orioles are on some kind of track for sure, but so far it looks like they’re zooming toward a cliff, having failed to notice the “Bridge is Out” sign along the way.

Baltimore manager Dave Trembley appears to be aware of impending doom, unloading on his team in a meeting on Wednesday before popping off to the press.

“I’ve been in a position where I’m a really nice fella and I’ll cover. I’ll get questions point blank and I feel like I’m a damn presidential press secretary sometimes instead of telling it what is it. I have to smooth it over,” Trembley said. “I’m not smoothing it over anymore.”

The Orioles (2-13 entering Wednesday night’s game in Seattle) have been pretty much awful across the board, ranking last in the AL in runs scored and 11th in ERA. In fact, dating back to Sept. 17 of 2009, they are 6-26 with a .242 team batting average.

The Orioles have had their share of injury problems, with Brian Roberts, Felix Pie and Michael Gonzalez all on the disabled list. Miguel Tejada is not on the DL, but missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday with a sore hamstring.

But Trembley’s big complaint on Wednesday was his team’s lack of fundamentals.

“I’m not going to let things continue to slide and say it’s OK. … I’m tired of that,” Trembley said. “I want to see the guys succeed. I’d like to get them back on track so they can enjoy that. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices and play some more as a team and do the things necessary in order for you to win. In order to do that you have to get your priorities straight. The priorities are the team.”

While I understand his frustration, the blame for a lack of fundamentals and team play should rest on the shoulders of the manager. It’s his job to instruct his players on how to play, then make sure they do it. So while it’s all well and good that Trembley is done being Mr. Nice Guy, it just might be too late for him. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.