It’s all in the past. But I can’t help but make assumptions.
There is no dispute that Jacob deGrom (35, Texas Rangers) is still the best pitcher in the major leagues. However, he was omitted from the roster for the US National Team, which was recently selected as the best of the best in the 2026 World Baseball Classic by The Athletic and Bleacher Report. He’s probably because in three years he’ll be 38, which is no small age.
In fact, deGrom has also had health issues for the past year or two. In 2021, the season was blown due to elbow pain at the end of July. In the 2022 season, he made his first appearance against the Washington Nationals on August 3 due to shoulder pain. Last year, at the end of the season, there was also a little uneasiness.
Such deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million (approximately 240.5 billion won) contract with Texas in the 2022-2023 free agent market. The consensus is that he would have been paid more if he hadn’t had health issues. Anyway, that’s something deGrom has to prove in Texas. In fact, during an exhibition game this year, his pitching schedule was disrupted due to a strain on his side.
Still, on the 26th (hereafter Korean time), he started the home demonstration game against the San Diego Padres at Surprise Surprise Stadium in Arizona, USA, and gave up no runs with 2 hits, 6 strikeouts and 2 walks in 3⅔ innings. He had 34 pitches and 25 strikes. Still, a powerful fastball around 160 km and various breaking balls stood out.
In this demonstration game, he appeared in 2 games, 6⅔ innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts. The average ERA is zero. For Texas, it’s like giving a healthy deGrom the light and shade for the next five years. How would it have been if this kind of deGrom appeared at the WBC, which ended a while ago? Could he have led the United States to victory? 안전놀이터
The power of the mound was a little weak compared to the batting line composed of major league all-stars in the WBC. This is because top-class aces such as deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander (above New York Mets) are missing. Some believe that if they had worn the uniform of the United States, the ending of this WBC would have been different. Of course, assumptions have no meaning in past history.
Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred quietly urged top-class major leaguers to participate after the WBC ended with Japan winning. But three years later, deGrom is in his late 30s. If he stays healthy until then, will he be able to go to the WBC. And will he be able to face the ‘batter’ Ohtani?
Anyway, with deGrom leaving the National League and coming to the American League West this year, there is a possibility that Ohtani’s pitching matchup or ‘tutu’ matchup will often happen.