And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 16, Nationals 10: Fisticuffsmanship! Nyjer Morgan’s mound-charge was pretty good until he whiffed on that punch, but the star of this show was Gabby Sanchez, who came over from first base with a move that put me in mind of Manny Fernandez’s flying burrito. Wait, you’re not telling me you don’t know who Manny Fernandez is, do you? He teamed with the Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant for cryin’ out loud! They took the tag team belt from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express! Really, you don’t know him?  Philistines.

Reds 6, Brewers 1: Aroldis Chapman faced six batters, struck out three and hit 103.9 mph on the radar gun. Only Joel Zumaya has thrown a faster pitch in the few short years Pitch f/x has been around. Yikes.

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 2: Brandon Allen’s first major league action this year was occasioned by a home run and a couple of nice plays in the outfield. Not bad for a guy who has never played left field in the bigs before. Oh, and the Padres are just happy that the Cardinals’ late-season implosion is getting more attention than theirs is. For now.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Welcome back to the land of the living, Tim Lincecum (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9K). Three games are now all that separate the Giants and the Padres.

Twins 2, Tigers 1: Max Scherzer deserved better (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 9K), but so too did Francisco Liriano who threw seven shutout innings and got a no decision as well. Danny Valencia won it with an RBI single in the 10th.

Braves 4, Mets 1: Freddie Freeman’s debut isn’t going to do anything to keep Derrek Lee on the bench (0 for 3 with a K), but old men like Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson were able to carry the load. Pretty sure I own underwear older than all three of ’em.

Rangers 4, Royals 3: I’m crestfallen that Francoeur didn’t report to the Rangers in time to make it into this one. The Royals probably are too, because that’s one fewer game they have to scout Frenchy before their as-inevitable-as-the-sun-rising-tomorrow signing of him this winter.

Yankees 4, Athletics 3: A.J. Burnett returns from the land of the living dead to get his first win in a long damn time (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 8K). The Yankees maintain their one-game lead in the East.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Sean Rodriguez was a double short of the cycle (take THAT Gleeman!) and David Price picked up his 16th win. Which, as you can see from the Tigers-Twins game, is a totally useful statistic.

Phillies 5, Dodgers 1: Roy Oswalt walked six dudes in six innings, but he got away with it because he only allowed one hit. Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 dudes but didn’t have a win to show for it in part because he gave up two homers. Oh, and because the Dodgers bullpen kind of sucks these days. There’s probably some kind of lesson in there somewhere.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 6: Again, wins don’t mean anything, but Jon Lester is now 13-0 lifetime against Baltimore, and that’s pretty cool. Well, not for Baltimore, but you know what I mean.

Astros 5, Cardinals 2: I hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Jeff Suppan is not who I think of when I think of the term “stopper.”

Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Tom Gorzelanny got knocked out of the game when a comebacker hit his right hand in the third, but the bullpen kept the Cubbies safe and dry for six innings.  Fukudome was 3 for 3 with a couple of doubles an RBI and a walk. Dude had an outstanding August and looks to be continuing his tear.

Angels 4, Mariners 2: Matsui’s two-run homer won the game for Anaheim, but Franklin Gutierrez had the snag of the game.

White Sox 6, Indians 4: Alex Rios hit a solo shot and Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer in the eighth to bring the Sox back from a 4-1 deficit. Manny’s debut only amounted to a single, but if you’re really starving for Manny news, you can read this inside report about how he really got to the White Sox. Shocking, I know, but I believe that’s what really happened.

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.