SAN DIEGO — The week after Thanksgiving, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was feeling a little under the weather. By the following Thursday, GM Chris Young knew exactly what would make him feel better.
“I got you some medicine. I got you a pitcher,” Young said he told Bochy on the phone. “So he asked who and I said Jacob deGrom. He said, and I’ll never forget this, he goes “Holy smokes!” and I think it took a minute to process.”
“Euphoria hits at that point,” Bochy said. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled, more excited that we were able to bring him here. And I’m thankful — first of all, to Jacob for coming to Texas, but also for CY, ownership, to step up the way they did to get a guy that was very much a need for us, a guy that’s going to head up this rotation. You’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the game. For him to be leading the way was a big need for us. And it makes our club so much better when you get a player like this. I couldn’t have been happier.”
But how did the Rangers, a club with a 4.22 staff ERA in 2022 and six straight losing seasons, manage to sign one of the best pitchers of this generation?
Interest from the Rangers’ side started early. The Rangers’ front office and ownership have been open about the club’s desire to improve the starting pitching at all levels. From the start of free agency, Texas was in contact with every viable option, with deGrom at the top of the list.
The sides set up a Zoom the week before Thanksgiving, accelerating the negotiation process. Young said that while his expectations were high going into the meeting with deGrom, the right-hander far exceeded everything Young already thought about him