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Mets’ rejects are now Rangers’ rubble

by Mac Engel Fort Worth Star-Telegram | June 9, 2023 at 2:20 a.m.

The best way to plan on Jacob deGrom moving forward is to assume his career is over, and anything he does with the Texas Rangers is free money found between your couch cushions.

(Yes, that is one expensive couch).

"Set a goal to try to be back next year, towards the end of the year," deGrom told reporters before the Rangers' game on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

DeGrom fought back tears as he spoke. Realizing your own mortality, be it your life or your career, stinks.

It's not his fault. It's his arm.

The human arm is not designed to repeatedly throw a baseball at 100 m.p.h. with "wicked spin."

As expected, deGrom's time with the Rangers is off to the feared start when the team announced on Tuesday he was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He will have season-ending Tommy John surgery, and miss the next 12 to 15 months.

Whether it was Corey Kluber or Prince Fielder before him, the Rangers' "medical team" saw what they wanted with deGrom, and ignored every piece of common sense to bring a big bat, or live arm, to the lineup.

DeGrom will join the Rangers 2022 first round draft pick, pitcher Kumar Rocker, to have Tommy John surgery this year.

These are both New York Mets "rejects" that Texas Rangers GM Chris Young gambled would be healthy, and contribute to the Rangers this season, and in the near future.

There's a decent chance deGrom will never be the same if and when he does return. If all goes well, he will be "the same" in 2025.

In the offseason, the Mets passed on handing deGrom stupid money for every single reasonable reason. He is 35, and he had not pitched more than 100 innings in a season since 2019.

Regardless, the Rangers could not hand deGrom that five-year, $185 million contract fast enough.

Don't think he's going to reach 100 innings in 2023. Or 2024. Or ever again.

In the limited time he has pitched for the Rangers, he was the most dominating pitcher this franchise has seen since Nolan Ryan. DeGrom struck out 45 batters in 30 1/3 innings, and displayed location with velocity that made him the best pitcher in baseball.

He was also more fragile than a Faberge egg, but maybe less expensive.

Beginning with his Opening Day start, every pitch deGrom threw was hold-your-breath suspense. Because every single pitch could be his last one.

You can't build a pitching staff around an arm that could snap in bullpen warmups.

The only thing that will save the Rangers on this is the insurance policy they likely have on his contract; this reality is a thread neither the team, nor the player or his representative, ever want to touch publicly.

If deGrom is done, the insurance policy will alleviate the Rangers from absorbing this crushing number to the fullest.

The insurance policy is what saved the Rangers the last time they went all-in on stupid and ignored medicals to add an injured player.

In November of 2013, the Rangers traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit for first baseman Prince Fielder. The Rangers wanted Fielder so badly they didn't even make him take a physical.

Fielder was limited to 42 games in his first season with the Rangers. In 2015, he was an All-Star. In August of 2016, Fielder was forced to retire because of injuries.

Adding Fielder was a Jon Daniels' boo-boo.

The former GM of the Rangers is gone, and in his place is Young, who will have to own this deGrom and Rocker mess.

Rocker was a first round pick by the Mets in 2021, but the team elected not to sign him because of concerns about his pitching arm. The Mets didn't want to give Rocker stupid money, as commanded by his agent, friend of the devil, Scott Boras.

In June of 2022, the Rangers drafted Rocker in the first round, and now the same arm now requires major surgery.

The level of commitment, and expectation, for Rocker compared to deGrom doesn't compare.

DeGrom can strikeout the best hitters in baseball. Rocker pitched well at Vanderbilt, and the SEC ain't MLB.

What does compare is management that focused on certain parts of the scouting report rather than every single sentence.

It happens. A lot.

In a quest to win, even the smartest people in the room suffer from myopia.

Jacob deGrom suffering a season-ending injury six starts into his Rangers' career is sad, and consistent with a franchise that offers so many heartbreaking story lines even the Chicago Cubs would admit, "That's rough."

It was fun while it lasted.

Print Headline: Mets’ rejects are now Rangers’ rubble


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