Josh Reddick: Astros ‘down in the dumps’ about team standing pat at trade deadline

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The Houston Astros stood pretty much pat at the trade deadline, adding Francisco Liriano but not much else. This despite the fact that key members of their rotation has spent a lot of time on the disabled list and the fact that other American League contenders made moves to improve themselves.

Of course, the Astros had a 16-game lead in their division at the deadline and, even with their current skid, they still possess a 13-game lead. They’re going to win their division and they stand just as good a chance to make noise in the playoffs as anyone. Meaning everyone, because the playoffs are inherently unpredictable and no single acquisition guarantees anyone October glory.

Still, there are many who believe that the Astros failing to land a starting pitcher such as Justin Verlander, Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish bodes ill for the team’s chances and these folks have spent the past two weeks feeling kind of deflated. They’re not just fans, either. Some of the disappointed folks are Houston Astros players.

Astros outfielder Josh Reddick was on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM yesterday and he had this to say about the front office’s lack of moves:

“I think deep down everybody in that clubhouse knew we were going to make some moves to make us a really great team to a team that put us over the edge, especially with all the moves you see moving around the league. It’s nothing against our guys, we are a great team, but any time you can make your team better you feel like should have the opportunity to do that and take full advantage. I think deep down, we all were, I don’t know if you want to say disappointed or upset, I guess we were just kind of down in the dumps because we feel like we had a pretty good shot at getting somebody to help this team get over that hump to where we needed to be.”

The Astros could still make a trade — Justin Verlander has cleared waivers and could be had, albeit for a hefty price in terms of prospects, salary obligations or both — but I find it odd that a player has the same viewpoint of fans who think a strong team MUST make a big deadline deal.

Especially Reddick, who himself was part of a big deadline deal a year ago, going from Oakland to the Dodgers along with Rich Hill. Hill battled blister issues and wouldn’t make a start for L.A. for three weeks after the deal. Reddick struggled down the stretch. That’s no knock on either of them. It’s just an example of how you can’t bank on anything when it comes to a deadline deal.

I think the Astros are going to be fine. I also think that they have the talent in place to be fine for many, many years. No sense in dealing a good bit of it away for two months worth of production and a far-from-certain chance of an enhanced playoff run.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
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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.