The extraordinarily odd, 13-player Dodgers-Marlins-Braves trade is done

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It took a day and change to make it happen, but Mat Latos is finally going to Los Angeles. And a heck of a lot of other players are moving around too as that Dodgers-Marlins-Braves trade is finally done, per Ken Rosenthal. The deal, which has changed some since last night:

  • To the Dodgers: Starter Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse from the Marlins and starter Alex Wood, relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, and infield prospect Jose Peraza from the Braves. Also from the Braves: Bronson Arroyo, who likely wasn’t going to pitch at all this year anyway and appears to be a financial move for Atlanta more than anything;
  • To the Braves: Infielder Hector Olivera, left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez, and minor league pitcher Zachary Bird from the Dodgers and Miami’s 2016 Competitive Balance Draft pick (34th overall); and
  • To the Marlins: Minor league pitchers  Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham and Victor Araujo as well as cash.

For the Dodgers, the moves are obvious: bolstering the starting pitching, with both Latos and Wood presumably moving into the rotation and Johnson and Avilan moving in to bolster the bullpen. Peraza is an interesting piece who will likely go to Oklahoma City. I have no idea what they plan to do with Michael Morse.

The Marlins save cash and get kids. That’s generally the reason for any Marlins move.

The Braves? Man, I dunno. Olivera is an intriguing piece who has been raking at Triple-A. But he’s 30, so it’s not like he’s the sort of guy who will anchor their infield for years and years. Obviously Alex Wood and any other pitcher is an injury risk and the Braves have other infield prospects apart from Peraza, but that seems an awful lot to give up for, basically, one guy, a draft pick, a couple of random arms and some financial relief. On the bright side, taking on a 30-year-old centerpiece suggests that the Braves believe they will be competitive relatively soon.

Also: how about the Braves losing Arroyo? Which means that they picked up Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks for virtually nothing. That’s not too shabby.

There David Price, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto deals were bigger in star power, but there likely will be no bigger deal in sheer mass than this one at the 2015 deadline.

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.