An update on the redesign

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OK, the changeover to the redesign did not go 100% according to plan.  But I assure you, we’re now only leaking, like, 5,000 barrels a day and we’ve sprayed chemical dispersants all around the affected area. We’ll be sunning ourselves on Mississippi beaches in no time.

Once again, apologies for the glitches earlier today.  As I mentioned on Twitter and in the comments, HBT is NOT becoming a registration site. That was a technical issue that, for reasons that aren’t terribly important to go over, wasn’t apparent until we actually went live.  It should be fixed now, but by all means, drop us a line (note the fancy “tips/feedback” button in the upper right) if you see any other problems.  Other matters:

While we will not be going to registration for reading the site we are going to keep with registration for comments.  This is something we should have hipped you to earlier, I confess, and I apologize for not doing so.  It’s something we do with great reluctance, but we’ve had enough issues with spam, impersonators and the like to where it’s really our only option.  Frankly, I can’t think of many blogs that don’t have comment registration these days, so such a move was probably inevitable. I think we’ll survive.

The comments will soon be back to oldest first, newest last.  The reverse chronological order thing was a function of solar winds, swamp gas and stuff like that.

The “search” field will return to the upper right soon as well.  To be honest, I have no idea how many of you actually use that, but it’s a pretty good site-searcher as far as those things go. I use it all the time so that I may more easily plagiarize myself.

People still continue to hate the click-throughs even lo these many hours later.  I understand it. I hope you understand why we’re doing it (if not, click here and read my explanation).  One thing I might ask of you to help make it a little more bearable is to give me your opinion:  do you prefer it if we tease the story a bit in the little field on the front page, or would you prefer the first few sentences of the post to appear like I did on this one?

I confess, I kind of like the tease because it gives me yet another opportunity to be snarky throughout the day, but I can see how that might be annoying too.  I think that, regardless of what you say, I’ll probably tease longish posts like And That Happened, but I do want to know what you think. And yes, I understand that you’d like no click-throughs to begin with. I want my hair back too, but it’s just not really in the cards.

That’s all I got right now.  Please keep the criticism coming (hopefully of the constructive variety).  We want to continue to make HBT your number one baseball destination, so if we’re totally wigging out on you, please let us know.   

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.