#3 deGrom's Tommy John surgery
Jacob deGrom right before the Winter Meetings and after Thanksgiving shocked the baseball world when he chose to sign with the Texas Rangers. People could not understand why he would choose to come to Texas over say resigning with the Mets or playing close to home with the Atlanta Braves. Texas offered more money and more years than any other team would offer. Most teams were scared away because of deGrom's injury past. Texas was not worried though and swooped in to land this generation's best pitcher.
Injuries followed deGrom from the start of spring training and into the season. On April 27th he was removed from a start against the New York Yankees. It appeared to be an arm injury. It was diagnosed as inflammation. He rested for the entire month of May and then tried to rehab and throw bullpen sessions. Then on June 5th a day after being placed on the 60-Day IL it was announced that deGrom would need Tommy John surgery. That was a huge blow to the team as their big free agent acquisition and their ace would now miss the rest of the 2023 season and likely much of the 2024 season.
That news did not derail the team. Nathan Eovaldi pitched like a Cy Young candidate for much of the first half. Dane Dunning turned into the Rangers' second-best starting pitcher by season's end. Texas went and traded for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. This team just kept rolling right along as if nothing happened.
Credit to Mike Maddux and Bruce Bochy for working with what they have and using it to the best of their abilities. Credit to the pitchers on the staff for stepping up in deGrom's absence and trying their best to fill his shoes. Credit to Jonah Heim for being the defensive stalwart he is behind the plate as well as a game-caller for each of his pitchers. It has been amazing to watch everyone step up at different times and make sure that this team was not going to fall off. deGrom was right there in the middle of the celebration on Saturday night because of the rest of this starting staff and their ability to step up in deGrom's absence.