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History Tells Bruce Bochy What Jacob deGrom Brings Rangers

Bruce Bochy has seen a few great pitchers in his career and seen how those acquisitions can make an impact.

Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy spent much of his time at the Winter Meetings talking about the team’s signing of New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.

But this is not the first time that he’s managed a team that acquired a starting pitcher that changed the game for his team.

Bochy made a comparison to a transaction that the San Diego Padres made for the 1998 season when he was manager — and it has a Rangers connection.

Before that season, the Padres traded Derrek Lee for former Rangers right-hander Kevin Brown.

“One that comes to mind right away is Kevin Brown,” Bochy said. “I'll never forget when we got him in ’98 in San Diego. And I mean you just change your staff.”

At the time, Brown was coming off a two-season stint with the Florida Marlins, where in 1997 he helped them win their first World Series. He was one of the game’s best pitchers. He made his third All-Star Game appearance that season and went 16-8 with a 2.69 ERA.

In 1996, Brown finished second in National League Cy Young voting after he went 17-11 with a MLB-leading 1.89 ERA.

The Padres were in a bad place. They went 76-86 in 1997, falling to fourth place in the NL West one season after winning the NL West title and losing in the NL Division Series.

Brown responded by going 18-7 with a 2.38 ERA in 36 games (35 starts). The Padres won the NL West and went to the World Series for the second time. Brown made two starts in the NLDS and had a 0.61 ERA. He won his first start in the NLCS against Atlanta, throwing a complete-game shutout.

After that, he blew a save in Game 5 of the NLCS and lost both of his starts in the World Series against the New York Yankees.

But the Padres would not have gotten that far without Brown.

“Not just the talent that he was, but you know Kevin,” Bochy said. “And his approach to the game and everything just made the rest of the staff better.”

Bochy also mentioned that the San Francisco Giants acquired Randy Johnson late in his career in 2009 and brought in Barry Zito in 2012. Bochy and the Giants won the World Series in 2012.

He know the impact deGrom could have because he’s experienced it first-hand.

“I think what I got from (deGrom) is how really committed he was to playing on a winner — I think he liked the fact that we were in the process of building a winning culture in Texas,” Bochy said.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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