And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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It was a slow night, as Major League Baseball cleared most of the decks so as not to interfere with the draft. Which, being honest, is not a great bit of entertainment so it’s not likely to draw many eyes. I don’t blame them, but on the whole, they probably should’ve just scheduled more games. Oh well.

Here are the scores, here are the highlights:

Angels 9, Royals 6Mike Trout had three hits, scored three times and knocked in two, and broke a tie in the eighth inning with an RBI single. Justin Upton and Albert Pujols each drove in two themselves and Jefry Marte went 4-for-4 with a solo home run. Trout is on a 50-homer, 138-run pace and has, by far, the highest OPS of his career so far this year. He has two MVPs already — should probably have four — and is having his best season of his career. They often say “you’re gonna tell your grandkids about him” but your grandkids are gonna obviously know who he is. Spend your time telling them about someone they’ll forget in fifty years. Like, I dunno, Craig Gentry. No, I have no idea what you’ll tell them about Craig Gentry. They’re not my grandkids, you figure it out.

Yankees 7, Tigers 4; Tigers 4, Yankees 2: Austin Romine hit a three-run homer in the first one and is now, somehow, hitting .373/.456/.661. Someone on Twitter yesterday asked me if, in light of him suddenly turning into Yogi Berra, the Yankees should trade Gary Sanchez. I am mostly sure they were just being sarcastic. But just mostly. Luis Severino, Meanwhile, struck out 10 in eight innings because that’s just what he does, seemingly every dang game he pitches. Wins don’t matter, but that was his ninth and he’s on a 26-win pace right now which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. The Tigers won the nightcap, thanks in part to them striking out Aaron Judge five times. He struck out three times in the first game. Those eight Ks in a twin bill is a new record. Yay? In other news, Giancarlo Stanton got hit in the face by Mike Fiers a few years back, putting him out for a long, long time with facial injuries. Fiers plunked Stanton in the arm last night. You can imagine that Stanton didn’t care for that too much. Stanton also hit a homer off of Fiers so I guess it’s all good.

Giants 10, Diamondbacks 3Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Crawford hit back-to-back bombs to start off the fourth inning and Alen Hanson and Buster Posey each added two-run doubles in that seven-run frame. That effectively ended the contest. With the win, the Giants are back to .500. Two games separate the top four teams in the NL West. The Last place Padres are only 4.5 out. No one has covered themselves with glory in that division this year, but it may be an entertaining race at least.

Padres 11, Braves 4Cory Spangenberg, Raffy Lopez, Eric Hosmer and Franmil Reyes all went deep as the Padres keep up their winning ways. They really thumped Atlanta pitching too, with nine of their 13 hits going for extra bases. Some of that was due to Braves starter Julio Teheran coming out of the game early with a bruised thumb, making way for reliever Luiz Gohara who came in and promptly allowed six runs on six hits. To be fair, though, Teheran wasn’t exactly setting the world afire himself.

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

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.