Bruce Bochy got sick after Thanksgiving. By Thursday, GM Chris Young knew what to do.
“I got medicine. Young called Bochy to give him a pitcher. So I said Jacob deGrom. “Holy smokes!” he said, and I’ll never forget it.
Bochy: “Euphoria sets in” “I was happy we could bring him here. I’m thankful to Jacob for coming to Texas, but also to CY, ownership, for stepping up to get a player we needed to lead our rotation. One of baseball’s top pitchers. We needed him to lead. This player improves our club so significantly. I was thrilled.”
The Rangers announced the five-year, $185 million pact the next day. Both Young and Bochy stressed the value of having Jacob deGrom on the staff, not just for his on-field success, but for his leadership and preparation.
“Many players told me, ‘Do you know what it’s like to play behind him?’” Young said. “When you travel to the park that day, you know you’ll win that night. It shifts perspective. Everyone benefits.”
How did a team with a 4.22 staff ERA in 2022 and six straight losing seasons sign one of this generation’s top pitchers?
Early Rangers interest. Rangers front staff and ownership want to enhance beginning pitching at all levels. Texas contacted every possible alternative, with deGrom at the top.
Before Thanksgiving, the sides used Zoom to speed up negotiations. Young had great expectations for deGrom, but he exceeded them.
Young, Bochy, and deputy general manager Ross Fenstermaker called deGrom.
“He appreciated that we were developing a winning culture in Texas,” Bochy said. “A humble man who wants to pitch. A good partner who was eager to hear what we had to give.
Bochy met deGrom at the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, when the NL Rookie of the Year struck out the side on 10 pitches. The Zoom meeting with deGrom and his staff went well, but he didn’t anticipate the signing to happen so quickly.
Bochy: “I’ve always admired him, but talking to him gives you a greater picture of who he is.” “I was happy. Many clubs will talk to him, though. So you don’t know his thoughts. He quickly decided. Everyone’s thrilled. Signing someone like this has repercussions. It helps other gamers. Like, ‘Hey, we’re serious.’ We’re aiming to win again in Texas.
Young says the Rangers can still compete for top free agents despite signing deGrom. He believes it encourages them to do so.
Young: “Jacob deGrom brings credibility to our organisation and makes us desirable.” Open-minded We want to upgrade our club and balance 2023 and long-term ambitions. We’re open to improving the club in any way.
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