There have been too many articles on my part lately, about one of the Texas Rangers' most significant acquisitions, Jacob deGrom. Of course, the renowned ace pitcher made headlines during the offseason when he signed a colossal 5-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers. It is a contract that made me cringe a little, based on the fact that deGrom only pitched 64 1/3 innings last season. And as fate would have it, the star right-hander has already succumbed to an injury, continuing a recurring theme in his career.
My last article about deGrom suggests that the solution may lie in reinventing himself as a pitcher and reducing his reliance on high-velocity fastballs, which place immense strain on his arm. By developing a more varied repertoire of pitches and focusing on pitching smarter, not harder, deGrom can increase his effectiveness and prolong his career. Emulating successful pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer might be just what deGrom needs to focus on.
But then I had an idea, that would benefit the team this season if management is committed to winning it all. So, hear me out, and I will give the front office some free advice.
Texas Rangers should explore the idea of Jacob deGrom transitioning to closer role
This move is beneficial for keeping him healthy and on the field, while also maximizing the Texas Rangers' chances of making a deep playoff run. With his explosive and nasty pitches, deGrom could transform into an unrivaled weapon as a closer.
As a starting pitcher, deGrom has showcased his dominance and established himself as one of the best in the game. However, the immense physical strain of starting every fifth day takes a toll on his body, making him more susceptible to injuries. By transitioning to the closer role, deGrom can leverage his skill set over shorter outings, allowing him to maintain his effectiveness while reducing the risk of overexertion and subsequent injury.
Jacob deGrom has been impressive this season with a record of 2-0, maintaining a perfect winning percentage of 1.000. He has an outstanding ERA of 2.67 and has started in all six games he has participated in. Throughout 30 1/3 innings pitched, deGrom has allowed 19 hits, resulting in 11 runs and nine earned runs. He has only given up two home runs and has struck out 45 batters while issuing four walks. With a WHIP of 0.758, deGrom has been dominant on the mound. His pitching prowess is evident in his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.25, and an impressive strikeout rate of 13.4 per nine innings.
But, throughout his illustrious career, Jacob deGrom has unfortunately been plagued by injuries. From nagging ailments to more severe setbacks, these injuries have disrupted his performance and cast a shadow of doubt on his long-term durability. The Texas Rangers were well aware of this risk when they signed deGrom, but an alternative role could mitigate these concerns while still harnessing his exceptional talent.
Texas Rangers ace, Jacob deGrom, would make one nasty closer
Pitching in high-leverage situations as a closer typically involves shorter stints and fewer appearances compared to starting pitchers. This altered workload could provide deGrom with the necessary rest and recovery time between outings, reducing the wear and tear on his body. Additionally, the role of a closer often calls for maximum effort over a limited number of pitches, allowing deGrom to unleash his full repertoire with each appearance, creating a more sustainable approach to his pitching style.
The Texas Rangers invested significantly in Jacob deGrom to bolster their chances of success. By utilizing him as a closer, the team protects their star asset and increases their likelihood of reaching and thriving in the playoffs. With deGrom in the closer role, the Rangers would possess a weapon capable of shutting down opposing lineups in the late innings, an invaluable advantage in high-stakes postseason matchups.
What may rub some fans the wrong way, is that Texas would be paying $37 million for a closer. In comparison, one of the most dominant closers in the game, Edwin Diaz, is getting around $20.4 million. The Rangers could trade for one or two more starting pitchers to fortify the rotation, as Eovaldi and Perez have been carrying this team since deGrom got into the IL.
So, if the team makes the move, deGrom can slide into the closer role after Will Smith. Try this for the remainder of the season, if that makes some fans happy since the team is paying starter money. But, if the team wants to compete and win the division from the Astros, it is an idea to consider.
While Jacob deGrom's injury concerns have cast doubt on his ability to consistently perform as a starting pitcher, transitioning to the closer position could unlock a new chapter in his career. The move would preserve his health and maximize his impact on the Texas Rangers' quest for postseason glory.
deGrom, as a closer, would be a force to be reckoned with, providing the Rangers with a distinct advantage in pivotal moments. Only time will tell if this strategic shift would pay off, but the potential rewards for both deGrom and the Rangers are undoubtedly compelling.