Yanks not certain Frazier will play again amid vision issues

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn’t certain that Clint Frazier will be able to play baseball again after the outfielder was pulled from a minor league rehab assignment Monday amid continuing issues with his vision.

“We’ll see,” Boone said when asked if Frazier would play again. “Obviously he’s been through a lot and been through a lot of seeing a lot of people and a lot of testing and everything. We’ll just try and continue to follow and support him where we can. But as of right now, a little holding pattern. I know he feels well today, so we’ll just see.”

The 26-year-old Frazier began a minor league rehab assignment last Tuesday after missing nearly six weeks due to dizziness and other symptoms consistent with vertigo. He went 4 for 10 over three games, but Boone said Frazier felt unwell prior to Sunday’s game with Double-A Somerset and took himself out of the lineup.

Frazier was formally pulled from the rehab assignment Monday and transferred to the 60-day injured list.

“Just didn’t feel like he was good enough to post,” Boone said before New York played the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. “And so, decided to pull the plug, and we applaud him for making that decision.”

Frazier was placed on the injured list July 1 with what was initially called vertigo and later defined as a possible vision issue. He missed nearly all of the 2018 season with lingering concussion symptoms, but it’s not clear if his current concerns are related.

A 2013 first-round pick by Cleveland, Frazier hit well in 2019 but was banished to Triple-A for much of the season following several defensive miscues.

He finally cracked New York’s crowded outfield for regular playing time in 2020 and shined. He batted .267 with a .905 OPS and steadier defense in left and right field, earning an everyday role for the 2021 season.

The breakout has fizzled this year. Frazier hit .186 with five homers and a .633 OPS in 66 games before going on the IL.

NOTES: RHP Luis Severino (right shoulder tightness) had an MRI as planned Monday. Boone said the team hoped to review the results before the end of the night. … C Gary Sanchez (COVID-19 IL) hit on the field Monday and could be activated Tuesday for a doubleheader against Boston.

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

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

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.

Texas announced the signing Friday night 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.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco, as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

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).

This latest blockbuster move comes just before baseball’s winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

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 University, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his professional 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.

New York won 101 regular-season games last season, second-most in franchise history, but was caught by NL East champion Atlanta down the stretch and settled for a wild card.

After declining his 2023 option, ending his contract with the Mets at $107 million over four years, deGrom rejected a $19.65 million qualifying offer in November, so 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.

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.