#5 Jacob deGrom - Texas Rangers starting pitcher
The signing of Jacob deGrom this past offseason marked a complete commitment to winning from the Rangers front office. Anytime a team can add a former Rookie of the Year that has been to four All-Star Games and has two Cy Young Awards in their trophy case, that is a big deal. Not only that, but when healthy, deGrom is the best pitcher in the game.
Unfortunately, that "when healthy" part reared its ugly head after only six starts. His contract is for $185 million for five years, and after his first six starts, deGrom is set to have Tommy John surgery this week. He will be out for the remainder of this season, and even if everything goes well, will only be able to join the club toward the end of next season, at the earliest.
Why do I have deGrom ranked as the fifth best offseason signing to this point in the year? Well, first off, in the six games that he was able to pitch he dominated. His personal record is 2-0, but the Rangers won all six of the games that deGrom pitched. That is about as good as it can be. As the season moves on, he will move down this list (as long as the guys below him continue to play well), but at this point, his contribution to the team warrants this ranking.
deGrom threw 30 1/3 innings in those six starts, had 45 strikeouts, issued four walks, had a 2.67 ERA, a 1.56 FIP, and a 0.758 WHIP. The best statistics are the ones that look like typos, and that is exactly what deGrom's look to be. Over the last several years, I have always heard that he was just different. I had the pleasure to watch his first two starts of the season in Arlington, and I can confirm that deGrom is indeed a different kind of pitcher.
Another factor that is impossible to measure, is his influence on the rest of the pitching staff. In the spring, every time that deGrom would be pitching on a back mound somewhere, every player and coach were all paying attention and mentally taking notes. When the best is working on his craft, everyone can get an education. deGrom has also been around the club for the last month, as he was hoping that his arm would heal up and not require surgery. There has no doubt been a good number of beneficial conversations in the dugout and clubhouse.