What They're Saying About Roy Halladay's No-Hitter

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My five-year old son knows very little about baseball apart from the fact that Daddy likes it and writes about it. He doesn’t watch games with me yet because, hell, you can’t get him to sit still for anything. He was getting ready to take a bath as the Phillies-Reds game was winding to a close yesterday, and since I’m usually his bath-giver, he was wondering where I was. From down the hall I heard my wife tell him that “Daddy’s watching baseball. Something important is happening, I guess.”

My son came down the hall — naked as a jaybird — stood next to where I was sitting and asked me what was going on. He knows the general point of baseball — the pitcher is trying to get the batter out, the batter is trying to hit the ball — so he basically grokked that what has going on was special. When I saw that he was getting it, I said “you know Buddy, no one has done what the man with the beard is doing for 54 years.” I’m not sure he understands the significance of the playoffs, let alone how long 54 years is, but this seemed to impress him. My wife came in the room and put his bathrobe on him and we watched together in silence.

When it was over — I had to tell him it was over — he ran back down the hallway to where my wife was and he yelled “Mommy! The man with the beard didn’t let anyone hit the ball! No one has done that in . . . um . . . a lot of years!”

There were others besides my son who were impressed by Halladay’s feat. This is a sampling of what they had to say:

  • Dash Treyhorn at The Fightins: “When Roy delivered that 0-2 pitch to Brandon Phillips and Chooch made
    that definitely-more-difficult-than-it-looked throw to put the game in
    the record books, I was elated, just not like the first time. I cheered,
    I put a hand in the air. But more than anything, I just laughed.
    Literally, I laughed, because what I had just witnessed was one of the
    most absurdly awesome moments in sports, and I wasn’t even surprised,
    because that’s what watching Roy Halladay for a season will do to you.”
  • The 701 Level: “hahaha YO GIL member wen DOC threw taaht NOHITER that was prety nSWETT SON haha YES” [sorry — personal weakness of mine; whoever writes that stuff is someone with whom I’d like to have a cocktail];

  • Rob Neyer: “Letting Roy Halladay loose against the National League this year was like locking a hungry wolf inside a garage full of kittens.
    We couldn’t have seen this coming, quite.
    But we should have seen something like it.”
  • Red Reporter: “OK, this is not how we wanted this to go.”
  • Eno Sarris: “He produced a game of which everyone who watched felt unworthy.”
  • Jimmy Rollins: “He was filthy. Filthy. Like just completely filthy.”

Oh, and Reds’ shortstop Orlando Cabrera had something to say too. But I’m saving that one for its own post — look back in about 25 minutes — because I don’t want to sully the awesome currently afoot with the lame noise he brought.

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.