Rangers, Jacob deGrom agree to 5-year, $185M deal

Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom agreed to a five-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers, sources told ESPN, bringing the most talented pitcher in baseball to an organization starved of pitching and investing heavily in free agents operates for the second straight off-season.

Rangers announced the deal on Friday night but did not disclose any terms.

DeGrom, 34, who has spent all nine seasons of his major league career with the New York Mets, has pulled out of the last two years of his contract despite pitching just 64⅓ innings in 2022. He missed the first four months of the season with a stress reaction in his shoulder, and injuries had limited him to 224⅓ innings for the past three seasons.

Texas looked past these issues and the potential for deGrom to be a transformative figure in the organization. He shattered industry expectations for a shorter-term contract with the five-year package, which sources said includes a six-year option to bring the total contract value to $222 million.

The signing comes barely a year after Rangers hit shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract and signed second baseman Marcus Semien to seven years and $175 million. Along with Jon Gray’s four-year, $56 million contract, Rangers spent the most money in the 2021-22 offseason.

The incorporation of deGrom in the biggest deal yet of the 2022-23 offseason continues the spending. The deal includes no deferred money and gives deGrom a full no-trade clause, sources said. Between that and the absence of a Texas state tax, competing teams would have had to surpass the $40 million-a-year threshold and increase the length of bids to compete with the Rangers.

In deGrom, the Rangers secured a right-hander with the best arsenal of pitches among starters: a 100-mph fastball he throws with exquisite command, a tenacious slider that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and a switch and Curveball, which would be for other elite courts but serve as a complement to deGrom’s fastball slider duo.

DeGrom finished the 2022 season with a 5-4 record and 3.08 ERA in 11 starts, though his periphery better illustrated his dominance: 102 strikeouts against just eight walks, with nine home runs allowed.

It continued the kind of performances he’d had over the previous four seasons as he won his two Cy Youngs and rose from a former ninth-round pick at Stetson University – where he played shortstop – to become the most unbeatable pitcher in the world.

He made his Mets debut just a month before his 26th birthday, and with Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz also among the Mets’ young starters, deGrom was not considered a future star.

Expectations rose at the end of his freshman season, when he posted a 2.69 ERA over 140⅓ innings. DeGrom made the National League All-Star team in his sophomore season and earned the votes of Cy Young in his fourth year before breaking out in 2018 as a 30-year-old. In 217 innings, deGrom hit 269 batters, walked 46, allowed only 10 home runs and posted a 1.70 ERA en route to his first Cy Young.

He went 204 innings with 255 strikeouts in a row with a 2.43 ERA in 2019. This spring he had signed a five-year contract extension that included an opt-out after the 2022 season.

After pitching 68 innings during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, deGrom looked to his peak in 2021, posting a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts with 146 strikeouts and 11 walks in 92 innings. But he missed more than half of the season with arm problems and the first half of the 2022 season, leading some to question whether he would waive the last two years of his contract.

He did – and for good reason. The market for deGrom has been resilient despite concerns about his age and health. A year ago, the Mets signed future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract, even though he was 37.

While deGrom didn’t match Scherzer’s average annual figure, the $37 million a year surpassed previous No. 2 New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and, with the lack of deferrals and taxes, is closer to Scherzer’s number than it is on paper Gap.

Rangers’ willingness to go to this level has stunned the industry. Though it was clear that Texas — whose starting ERA of 4.63 was ranked 25th out of 30 teams that year — planned to continue pitching, deGrom conceded a fifth season, signaling his intent to be the best pitcher on the market to get.

With deGrom, Gray, Martin Perez and Jake Odorizzi as well as young Big Leagues Dane Dunning and Glenn Otto and prospects Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter and Owen White, the Rangers are suddenly in a much better position.

Competing in the American League West isn’t going to be easy. At the top of the division is defending World Series champion Houston, who signed first baseman Jose Abreu and reliever Rafael Montero, and behind the Astros this season were wild-card winners Seattle Mariners, outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Second Baseman Kolten Wong included in trades.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35166769/sources-rangers-jacob-degrom-agree-5-year-185m-deal Rangers, Jacob deGrom agree to 5-year, $185M deal

Emma Bowman

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