Red Sox exec: No plans for Bogaerts, Devers trade talks

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BOSTON — Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said that the team hasn’t discussed selling off All-Stars Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers at the trade deadline, and “we’re not planning to discuss them with anybody.”

Bloom told reporters before the game against Cleveland that he still thinks the Red Sox, who entered the night 3+ games back in the AL wild-card race, can grab a postseason berth. But that could change if they continue a slide in which they’ve lost 14 of their last 18 games and fallen into last place in the division.

“We would be silly to try to pretend that that scoreboard doesn’t exist,” he said in the home dugout at Fenway Park, looking out at the scoreboard that showed the Red Sox in last place in the AL East.

“We’re not too happy with how it looks right now. We have to factor that in,” Bloom said. “Every game moves that needle one way or another. It doesn’t change how we feel about the talent on the club, but it does change our situation.”

One year after the Red Sox came within two wins of the World Series, the team has stumbled to a .500 record thanks in part to injuries that left them plugging as much as half of their lineup with minor leaguers. But despite dropping into fifth in the AL East, they are still in the race for a playoff berth.

“I understand normally you wouldn’t be sitting here in last place and saying that. It is a really unique year in our division,” said Bloom, whose team has not won a series against a division opponent all season. “Part of it is that we are in a really good division, but that’s no excuse. We have to be honest. If we don’t reverse that, we’re not going to get where we want to go.”

Complicating things is the status of Bogaerts and Devers, two young stars who could be the cornerstones of the ballclub for a decade – if they re-sign. Bogaerts, 29, can opt out of his contract after this season, and the 25-year-old Devers is eligible to be a free agent after next season.

Designated hitter J.D. Martinez is in the last year of his contract – another player who would be attractive to a team looking to make a playoff push in 2022. Could they go the way of 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, who was traded away in his free agency year as Bloom’s first big move in Boston?

While repeating that the team wasn’t “planning” to discuss trades for the two infielders, Bloom also said, “The best thing I can say is we’re not doing our jobs if we’re not considering all possibilities.”

Bloom said he still likes the talent on the club – when healthy – and conceded that the depth has not delivered the way he had hoped. Prospects like pitcher Brayan Bello, infielder Jeter Downs, outfielder Jarren Duran and first basemen Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec – some of them rushed to the majors to plug holes – have all struggled at the plate or in the field or both.

Bloom preached patience on the young players and lamented the injuries that have included Devers along with ace Chris Sale, center fielder Kike Hernandez and second baseman Trevor Story.

“Obviously, we haven’t played well lately. We’ve been banged up and we haven’t been playing well,” Bloom said. “I do think we have a good team. I think we have a very talented team. It’s not a perfect club, no question. And you know, at times we haven’t played as well as we could at times. … But I’d stack our talent up against just about any team in the league.”

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.