But when he was on the mound, deGrom was virtually unparalleled. He went 82-57 in nine years with the Mets, a record that could have been higher had it not been for the team’s uncanny lack of offensive support when deGrom pitched. But his career 2.52 earned run average in 209 starts is the fourth lowest for any pitcher with at least 200 starts in the expansion era, behind only the great Dodgers aces, Sandy Koufax (2.19) and Clayton Kershaw (2.48). His 43.8 career wins above replacement is fourth best on the Mets list.
A former college shortstop who loved to hit, deGrom was selected by the Mets in the ninth round of the 2010 draft when Omar Minaya was the team’s general manager. It was an inspired choice as deGrom evolved into arguably the second-best pitcher the Mets ever had, after Seaver. He quickly flourished after four years in the minors, one of which (2011) was lost when he had Tommy John surgery.
After he won the Rookie of the Year Award and helped the Mets to the 2015 World Series, deGrom won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and 2019 and led the league in strikeouts twice. The Mets had hoped that pairing deGrom and Max Scherzer at the front of their rotation could lead the team to its first World Series title since 1986. But a 101-win season ended in frustration when the team was eliminated in the wild-card round of the playoffs. DeGrom won his one start, in Game 2 against the Padres.
With deGrom and the Mets, 2021 will remain an extreme case of what might have been. He had a career-best 1.08 ERA before being shut down for the season after 15 starts. He was effective once he was able to return in the second half of the 2022 season, striking out 14.3 batters per nine innings, but his results were mixed, by his standards, with a 5-4 record and a 3.08 ERA
In spring training, when deGrom said he would play out his contract and test free agency, it raised the possibility that he might leave New York. Raised in DeLeon Springs, Fla., deGrom was an avid Atlanta Braves fan and some speculated that he might sign there. Instead, it was the Rangers.
In Texas he will be asked to stabilize the pitching for a team that spent lavishly last off-season, committing $500 million to the infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but finished 68-94 thanks in large part to the team’s starters combining for a 4.63 ERA
Benjamin Hoffman and Scott Miller contributed reporting.
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