The case for signing Jacob deGrom over Carlos Rodon

Twitter has been ablaze since it was revealed that Jacob deGrom had told the Texas Rangers he was interested in signing with them. So says Jon Heyman, writer for the New York Post.

Mets fans have dismissed that report, while Rangers fans have spent Ray Davis’ money imagining Jacob deGrom putting on the rubber on next season’s opening day against the Phillies. There are also some Ranger fans who want Carlos Rodon instead. Nothing against Rodon, but he’s no Jacob deGrom. It really needs to be argued that deGrom is signing a lucrative 3-4 year deal and why it would be the right move for the Texas Rangers at this point.

Plea for Texas Rangers to sign Jacob deGrom over Carlos Rodon

Jacob deGrom is the top pitcher in the majors right now, period. He is a two-time Cy Young winner and has made the top 10 in voting six times. When he’s on the mound, nobody dominates a lineup more than deGrom. He has hit 200+ racquets four times in one season and if 2020 had been a full season he would have done the same. His WHIP, walks and hits per pitched innings, ranks first among active pitchers and second-best of all time at .998. He is slightly behind Clayton Kershaw for active ERA at 2.52.

The only reason he doesn’t have as many wins as you’d expect is because the Mets would routinely give him little to no running support from 2015-2021 in that dominance. In his career, he has lost 31 games starting well, six innings or more with three runs allowed or fewer. This is one of the “cheapest losses” in MLB this period.

The question inevitably revolves around injuries when discussing deGrom and whether he’s worth a three- or four-year deal worth around $40 million a season. Let’s examine the injuries that caused him to miss the second half of the 2021 season and the first half of the 2022 season.

In 2021, deGrom had perhaps the most dominant first half of the season since Bob Gibson in 1969. He had a 1.08 ERA at the break and got people talking about keeping it that low for the rest of the season and Gibson’s 1.08 ERA .12 could surpass In 1968, deGrom had 146 strikeouts in 11 walks and won seven games. That’s also missing two launches, both in May.

He was diagnosed with a mild forearm strain in July 2021. The pain then spread to his elbow and he was then diagnosed with inflammation in his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He missed all of July and August. He had a fourth MRI in late August and it cleared up and he resumed throwing. He did not need surgery for this injury. The Mets fell out of the playoff chase in September and he finished them rather than try to rush back.

In 2022, when he came out of lockout, there was an abbreviated spring practice, but he made all his starts in that compressed window. Then, a few days before the season, he felt pain in his shoulder and was diagnosed with a stress reaction on his shoulder blade.

Brandon McCarthy has had a similar injury five times. He is currently working with the Rangers organization and after deGrom was diagnosed he tweeted this.

deGrom, however, would be absent for more than four weeks. He eventually returned on August 2 and didn’t miss a start the rest of the year and also started in the postseason, helping the Mets win the second game of their streak against the Padres in the wild card round. This injury did not require surgery either.

Yes, there are injury concerns from the last two seasons. Any pitcher will have health concerns because throwing a baseball is an unnatural movement. He only had one surgery in his career and that was at the end of the 2016 season and he came back in April and made all his starts over the next 2 years. Despite what fans say, deGrom has a longer health record than Carlos Rodon.

Here’s a brief recap of Rodon’s career. He is younger than deGgrom as he is 29 years old turning 30 in December. He’s had a season of 30 or more starts and that was in 2022. He’s missed time with injuries almost every season.

Injury concerns abound for both pitchers. deGrom is the better pitcher, he’s been more reliable for longer, and even if Rangers give him a four-year contract, he’ll be pitching by the age of 35-38. Justin Verlander, after missing all two seasons, is presented with the Cy Young Award at the age of 39. Max Scherzer won 11 games and batted 173 in his season at the age of 37. Jacob deGrom is a few years younger than these two guys.

When deGrom was out there last season, he had what is described as a “disappointing” season. He made 11 starts, had a 3.08 ERA, batted 102 in 64 innings and walked 8 batters. He pitched at least 5 innings each time, except at a game in Oakland in late September when he pitched 4 innings and gave up 5 runs.

He was the best pitcher of this generation and if Rangers have the opportunity to sign him they should. He will raise the ceiling of the team and is a true ace of a staff. There are only maybe 10 guys out there that are considered aces and he’s the best of them. He will help with ticket sales and help the team win games on the days he starts. Jacob deGrom would instantly become the top pitcher in the AL West.

Chris Young has proven to be a master seller so far. It’s the most important sales job he’ll ever have: convincing Jacob deGrom to leave New York and come to Texas to team up with Bruce Bochy.

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