And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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It’s always weird, after the trade deadline, when games actually happen. It’s simultaneously anti-climatic and refreshing if that makes any sense. “Oh yeah, games.” I dunno.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 6, Mets 5: For this I’m going to defer to the Associated Press:

Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and the Yankees, after selling off stars at the trade deadline, showed plenty of spunk while rallying past the Mets 6-5 on Monday night in their Subway Series opener.

No. No. We are NOT doing that. We are not, on the first day after the Yankees trade off some veterans, going to cast them as spunky and scrappy underdogs. They do NOT get to be the Evil Empire for 20 years and then immediately transform into the friggin’ Bad News Bears. I will not stand for this. Nor should you. They cannot be spunky until, I dunno, three more high-priced veterans are gone and they lose badly for a year while a couple of prospects emerge. Then, and only then, can they be “spunky.” There are rules, people.

Twins 12, Indians 5: Wunderbar! Max Kepler hit three homers, had four hits in all and drove in six runs. For the Indians, panic time: Danny Salazar was roughed up for six runs in two innings and now will undergo an MRI on his elbow, which he says has been bothering him for some time and has certainly affected his last two starts. In other news, Andrew Miller made his first appearance for Cleveland. He gave up a homer to Joe Mauer. Yankees win the trade?

Royals 3, Rays 0: Danny Duffy had absolutely electric stuff, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning and setting a team record by striking out 16 batters in the game. Kevin Kiermaier was on deck when Desmond Jennings got the only hit of the game, breaking up the no-no. I had the game on and was prepared to flood the Internet with cat photos if it was Kiermaier who did it. Missed opportunities.

Cubs 5, Marlins 0: Kyle Hendricks pitched a complete game shutout, scattering seven hits. He also threw 123 pitches, which was his highest total of the year, but it was pretty necessary given that the Cubs used every player who wasn’t nailed down the day before. Anthony Rizzo singled, doubled, tripled and reached base five times. Adam Conley of the Marlins  walked six and hit a guy, needing 97 pitches to make it through four innings.

Astros 2, Blue Jays 1: This one went 14 innings and ended when new Blue Jay reliever Scott Feldman came in to face the team who traded him earlier in the day. He immediately gave up a single and a game-ending double and that was that. This should trigger a thorough review of the Blue Jays’ debriefing protocols. If a defector turns out to be a sleeper agent, someone has messed up in counterintelligence. Everyone who watches “The Americans” knows this.

Nationals 14, Diamondbacks 1: I haven’t checked the stats yet, but I am confident that Stephen Strasburg is undefeated when his team scores 14 runs on 19 hits. Three of those hits were his and he drove in a run. He picked up his 15th win of the season. He also leads the NL in WAR for starting pitchers. I feel like Clayton Kershaw still has time to claim his Cy Young Award if he comes back eventually, but if he misses much more time the support is going to shift to Strasburg. Like Woody Allen said, eighty percent of success is showing up.

Red Sox 2, Mariners 1: The M’s took a 1-0 lead into the eighth but it’s not 1968 and 1-0 leads don’t hold up too terribly often. Aaron Hill homered to tie things up that inning and Mookie Betts added a solo shot to give the Sox the lead for good in the top of the ninth. Craig Kimbrel returned for Boston and got the save, though he did allow two baserunners.

Padres 7, Brewers 3: A five-run fifth inning sunk the Brewers and snapped their four game losing streak. Travis Jankowski had three hits and two walks. Padres pitcher Jarred Cosart, making his Padres debut after being traded from Miami, only made it into the fourth after walking six dudes and hitting a guy. It’s not often a starter can do that and not pay for it, but the Brewers couldn’t capitalize. Four Padres relievers took it the rest of the way.

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.