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Jacob deGrom finally gets run support, wins first game since June 18

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There has not been more of a hard luck pitcher than Jacob deGrom this season. While he has put up Cy Young-level performances, posting sub-2.00 ERA and striking out more than five times as many batters as he has walked, he pitches for the New York Mets so those great performances have not turned into wins all that often.

The poor defense and lack of run support meant that, heading into today’s outing against the Cincinnati Reds, deGrom only had a record of 5-7 despite that sparking ERA, despite all of those strikeouts, despite the minimal number of walks allowed and despite the fact that — once you controlled for the subpar fielder’s behind him — he’s been arguably the best pitcher in the National League this year. Not many players have done more to help their teams win than deGrom and not many have had so little help in doing it.

Today, however, was different. deGrom was his usual dominant self, tossing six shutout innings, allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out ten. The difference: he got a little run support, thanks to five runs when he was the pitcher of record and three more after he left the game with a 5-0 lead. One of those runs came via his own plate patience when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. Others helping deGrom’s cause: Brandon Nimmo, who had two RBI doubles and knocked in three in all and Austin Jackson, who hit two RBI doubles and singled in a third run himself.

With that, deGrom was awarded his sixth win of the season and his first since June 18, when it was still technically spring. He also lowered his ERA to 1.77, helping his already strong argument for the NL Cy Young Award, even if he’s unlikely to even notch a dozen wins and may not even get ten if the Mets continue to be the Mets.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.