Altuve, Arenado, Chisholm, Rodón won’t play in All-Star Game

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, San Francisco Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado and Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. won’t be playing in the All-Star Game.

Altuve, an eight-time All-Star who was selected as a starter in fan voting, was struck on the left knee leading off Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. He was kept out of the lineup Friday night.

MLB announced Saturday that Altuve is being replaced in the starting lineup by Cleveland’s Andres Gimenez, who is making his first appearance. Toronto’s Santiago Espinal will replace Altuve on the AL roster.

Dodgers pitcher Tyler Anderson, who is 10-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 17 games with 81 strikeouts, is taking the place of Rodon on the NL roster, LA said in a news release. It wasn’t immediately clear why Rodon isn’t playing in the All-Star Game; he was originally added to the roster on July 12 in place of Milwaukee closer Josh Hader.

Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley, who has 100 hits and a .913 OPS this season, will replace Arenado on the NL team.

Arenado, a seven-time All-Star, said Saturday that he’s had lower back soreness for three to four weeks, that MRIs found nothing and that he’ll take the All-Star break to rest.

“It’s been a problem lately It didn’t really make sense for me to go do that,” said Arenado, who lives less than an hour from Los Angeles. “Probably made more sense for me to go home, relax and just chill. Go home. Get treatment. Get some work done. I’ve got some trainers. I’ve got a physical therapist back home, ready to go.”

Altuve said of his knee on Saturday that he was “waiting to see how it responded today and I think we all agree that we’re making the best decision.” He also said “I don’t think we’re going to go” when asked if he was going to go to LA, adding “we’re going to do some treatment and get ready for the second half.”

Pittsburgh’s Jake Cronenworth will take the place of Chisholm, who has been on the injured list since June 29 with a right lower back strain.

Miami manager Don Mattingly said of Chisholm that “anybody that’s in the IL is in medical’s hands until they’re not.”

“I’m sure he’s disappointed he can’t play. He’s earned that right to play,” Mattingly said, adding that Chisholm is “getting better and hopefully he’ll have many more of these (opportunities.)”

The 23-year-old Gimenez, who came to Cleveland last year as part of the trade that sent shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets, is having a standout season. He’s batting .299 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 78 games while playing solid defense. He’s also been clutch, batting .384 with runners in scoring position.

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.