And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Carlos Lee waving.jpgAstros 6, Nationals 4: A walkoff two-run homer for Carlos Lee. The Nationals helped set it up, however, when Cristan Guzman lost
a Lance Berkman liner in the lights and had it bounce in front of him
allowing Michael Bourn to score.

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: The best kept secret in baseball? Kris Medlen. The youngin’ who somehow made it OK for the Braves to lose Jair Jurrjens pitches a strong seven and a third innings to help Atlanta to its ninth straight win. The Dodgers’ pitchers’ streak of scoreless innings ended in the first when Troy Glaus doubled singled in Martin Prado.

Marlins 3, Brewers 2: Josh Johnson took a tough loss against Halladay
last weekend — when the other dude throws a perfect game whaddaya gonna
do? — but he was strong again yesterday, giving up one run on seven
hits in seven innings and striking out eight. Because he toils for the
Marlins it’s possible that he’s more of a secret than Kris Medlen,
although given just how damn good he is there’s no excuse for it.

Tigers 12, Indians 6: Rick Porcello falls a mere seven hits a walk a few
errors and about three innings short of a perfect game. I really hope
Bud Selig does something about this. It’s a shame that we were all
deprived of seeing history.

Mariners 4, Twins 1: King Felix picks up his first win in eight starts. Maybe almost getting his head taken off by a Justin Morneau comebacker woke him up. Casey Kotchman set a major league record for consecutive chances without an
error by a first baseman. He’s now at 2,008, breaking Kevin Youkilis’ old record of 2,002.

White Sox 4, Rangers 3: Carlos Quentin dropped a routine flyball allowing a run to score and got booed. A couple innings later he hit a two-run homer that proved to be the game winner. Oh, and Freddy Garcia has the most wins of any White Sox starter. Which is . . . unexpected.

Angels 5, Royals 4: One out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The ball is hit to Allberto Callaspo at third. Callaspo steps on the bag to get the runner from second and then throws home to Jason Kendall. Kendall fails to realize that there is no longer a force at home so he doesn’t try to tag the runner. Rather, he merely steps on the plate and the run scores.  Mind you, Kendall’s veteran savvy and leadership is the primary reason he’s making $6 million between this year and next.

Athletics 9, Red Sox 8: Thirty-two hits between the teams, four of which were Oakland homers. The A’s hadn’t previously hit more than two in a game this season. The A’s lost two players to injury, but the Red Sox had two guys gunned down at home. Advantage: Oakland.

Yankees 6, Orioles 3: Eight straight down the toilet for the Orioles who, depending on which reports you believe this morning, have either fired Dave Trembley or are about to. I do a weekly Friday morning radio spot on WNST in Baltimore. I wonder what we’ll talk about today?

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.