Twitter has been ablaze since word came out that Jacob deGrom informed the Texas Rangers he is interested in signing with them. That is according to New York Post writer Jon Heyman.
Mets fans have been dismissing this report, while Rangers fans have been spending Ray Davis’ money picturing Jacob deGrom toeing the rubber on Opening Day next season against the Phillies. There are also some Ranger fans that are wishing for Carlos Rodon instead. No offense to Rodon, but he is no Jacob deGrom. The case really needs to be made for signing deGrom to a lucrative 3-4 year contract and why it would be the right move at this time for the Texas Rangers.
Making the case for the Texas Rangers to sign Jacob deGrom over Carlos Rodon
Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in the majors right now, full stop. He is a 2-time Cy Young winner and finished top 10 in voting six times. When he is on the mound no one dominates a lineup more than deGrom does. He has struck out more than 200 batters in a a season 4 times and if 2020 was a full season he would have done so then as well. His WHIP, walks and hits per innings pitched, is first among active pitchers and 2nd all time at 0.998. He is slightly behind Clayton Kershaw for active ERA at 2.52.
The only reason he does not have as many wins as you would expect is because the Mets would routinely give him little to no run support in that dominant from 2015-2021. In his career he has lost 31 games where he had a quality start, six innings or more with three runs allowed or less. That is among the most “cheap losses” in MLB in that time period.
The question inevitably turns to injuries when discussing deGrom and if he is worth a three or four year contract worth around 40 million per season. Let’s examine the injuries that caused him to miss the second half of the 2021 season and the first half of the 2022 season.
In 2021, deGrom had maybe the most dominant first half of a season since Bob Gibson in 1969. He had a 1.08 ERA at the break and had people talking about if he could keep it that low the rest of the season and top Gibson’s 1.12 ERA in 1968. deGrom had 146 strikeouts to 11 walks and had won seven games. That’s also with missing two starts, both in May.
In July 2021, he was diagnosed with a mild forearm strain. The soreness then progressed to his elbow and then he was diagnosed with inflammation in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his elbow. He missed all of July and August. He had a fourth MRI in late August and it came back clear and he resumed throwing. He did not require surgery for this injury. The Mets fell out of the playoff hunt in September and he shut it down rather than try to rush back.
In 2022 coming off of the lockout, there was a shortened spring training, but he made all of his starts in that compressed window. Then a few days before the season he felt soreness in his shoulder and was diagnosed with a stress reaction on his scapula in his shoulder.
Brandon McCarthy had a similar injury five times. He currently works with the Rangers organization and after deGrom was diagnosed, he tweeted this out.
deGrom would end up missing more than four weeks though. He finally returned on August 2nd and didn’t miss a start the rest of the year and did make a start in the postseason as well helping the Mets win game two of their series against the Padres in the Wild Card Round. Surgery was not required for this injury either.
Yes, there are injury concerns based on the last two seasons. Every pitcher is going to have health concerns as throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion. In his career he has only required 1 surgery and that was at the end of the end of the 2016 season and he came back in April and made all of his starts the next 2 years. Despite what fans are saying, deGrom has had a longer track record of health than Carlos Rodon.
Here is a quick recap of Rodon’s career. He is younger than deGgrom as he is 29 and about to turn 30 in December. He has had one season of 30 or more starts and that was in 2022. He has missed time with injuries nearly every season.
Injury concerns abound for both pitchers. deGrom is the better pitcher, he has been more reliable for a longer period of time, and even if the Rangers give him a four-year contract that will have him pitching his age 35-38 seasons. Justin Verlander after missing all of two seasons is about to be awarded the Cy Young award at age 39. Max Scherzer won 11 games and struck out 173 in his age 37 season. Jacob deGrom is a few years younger than both of those guys.
When deGrom was out there this past season, he had what is considered a “disappointing” season. He made 11 starts, had a 3.08 ERA, struck out 102 in 64 innings, and walked 8 batters.He pitched at least 5 innings every time out except for one game in Oakland late in September when he pitched 4 innings and gave up 5 runs.
He has been the best pitcher of this generation and if the Rangers have an opportunity to sign him, they should. He will be raise the ceiling of the team and is a true ace of a staff. There are only maybe 10 guys out there that are considered aces and he is the best of them. He will help sell tickets on the days he starts and help the team win games. Jacob deGrom would immediately become the best pitcher in the AL West.
Chris Young has shown himself to be a master salesman to this point. This is the most important sales job he will ever have: convincing Jacob deGrom to leave New York and come to Texas to join forces with Bruce Bochy.