ARLINGTON, Texas — Let the speculation and hype begin, Rangers fans.
The New York Post's baseball insider Jon Heyman on Thursday reported that ace pitcher Jacob DeGrom "has let the Rangers know he is interested in them" as free agency is set to begin.
DeGrom, 34, is a free agent and is set to command one of the more lucrative deals of the offseason.
Heyman speculated that free agent pitcher Carlos Rodon, at 30, might be a better age fit for the Rangers, who might not compete for the playoffs for another year or two.
Heyman also reported the Rangers are offering Martin Perez, whose strong 2022 for Texas skyrocketed his value, a $19.65 million qualifying offer.
Granted, reported interest is a long way from signing a multi-year, multi-hundred-million-dollar deal.
But it's easy to dream.
The Rangers' rotation needs any help it can get -- including a possible return home for Clayton Kershaw -- but no one in baseball can match DeGrom at his best.
In nine seasons with the Mets, the right-hander compiled a 2.52 ERA with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings. He also won Rookie of the Year honors in 2014 and the National League Cy Young in 2018 and 2019.
Injuries have been DeGrom's main issue; but when he's healthy, he's been historically elite. He's the active career leader for Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), at 2.62, and WHIP (Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched), at 0.998.
All that said, let's not get our hopes up.
Over the summer, the slightest hint of a possible Juan Soto trade to the Rangers was enough to get us excited. But it never happened, the Rangers fell out of contention and manager Chris Woodward got fired before the season.
The hiring of Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series-winning manager, was expected to make the Rangers active again during the winter free agent period.