And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 7, Reds 3: Mike Leake got rocked and the Cardinals made a statement in game one of a big series. And it is only one game, Reds fans, even if it didn’t feel like it. Jim Edmonds’ Reds debut: 0 for 4. Theory: he’s a deep cover agent sent out by the Cards three years ago with the express purpose of hiding his tracks in Chicago, San Diego and Milwaukee before submarining the Reds. Very clever, La Russa. Very clever.

Red Sox 2, Yankees 1: I stand by my real-time Bard gushing from yesterday, subsequent Teixeira homer notwithstanding. Dude announced his presence with authority.

Astros 10, Braves 4: I’m coming down with something nasty. Feels like a flu. Aches all over and just general blah. Because of this I went to bed really early last night, turning this game off when the Braves were up 4-3. I’m glad I did because I don’t think I could have stood it to watch Kyle Farnsworth come into a close game, let alone blow the hell up like he did here. Single, throwing error, walk, single, wild pitch, and finally a walk for The Perfesser, and of course Peter Moylan came in and allowed basically everyone to score. If I was watching this I would have put a brick through my monitor. My guess: Farnsworth doesn’t see action for the rest of the year unless there’s a minimum of a six-run spread at the time.

Orioles 3, White Sox 2: And the O’s keep rolling. Walkoff blast for Brian Roberts in the 10th. The homer came off J.J. Putz, though, not Bobby Jenks so I suppose that kept Ozzie Guillen from committing homicide last night.

Rays 6, Tigers 3: It wasn’t efficient — 115 pitches in five innings — but I suppose David Price’s 9 Ks were effective enough. Eight losses in ten games for the Tigers. On the bright side, they can safely make October vacation plans now.

Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 4: Ken Macha has been putting Trevor Hoffman into games late again, probably as a means of getting him to 600 saves before the year is out. This wasn’t a save situation — it was a tie game in the tenth — but it probably shows the folly of continuing to put Hoffman into anything close to critical spots anymore, as the Dbacks tag him for three runs.

Giants 4, Cubs 3: Carlos Zambrano returned to the rotation and, while he only allowed two runs in five innings, he walked seven dudes and one of those runs scored on a wild pitch. So yeah, there’s more to work on than just anger management.

Angels 6, Royals 4: The Angels jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on as the Royals charged late. Bobby Abreu had three hits and drove in four from the leadoff spot. And by the way, can I tell you how much I love seeing Bobby Abreu in the leadoff spot? He was born for it — at least the latter-career, low power version of him was — and it’s nice to see Mike Scioscia finally get his mind around the fact that you don’t need a fast dude to bat first.

Mariners 3, Athletics 1: Dude: Triple play. Around-the-horn style, too, which is way more awesome than those “second baseman gets a line drive and everyone stands around confused while he randomly tags people and makes an anticlimactic throw to first to double-off a dude” kind.  And hey: let’s just ignore the fact that it the throw to first was almost certainly late, shall we? The M’s had a bad enough day without letting little old things like facts get in the way of a good story.

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.