Rangers sign deGrom on blockbuster 5-year deal

Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom has agreed to a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers, sources tell ESPN, bringing baseball’s most talented pitcher to a pitching-starved organization that made massive investments in free agents for the second. direct offseason.

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

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

Texas looked past those issues and the potential for deGrom to be a transformative figure in the organization. He shattered industry-wide expectations of a shorter-term deal with the five-year package which sources say includes a sixth-year option to bring the total contract value to $222 million. dollars.

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

Bringing in deGrom with the biggest deal of the 2022-23 offseason continues the spending so far. The contract includes no deferred money and gives deGrom a full no-trade clause, sources said. Between that and the lack of a state tax in Texas, competing teams would have had to exceed the $40 million per year threshold and stretch the length of the offer to compete with the Rangers.

At deGrom, the Rangers got a right-hander with the best throwing arsenal among starters: a 100+ mph fastball that he throws with exquisite control, a biting slider that’s in the low to mid-90s. and a change and the curveball that would be elite pitches for others but serve as a complement to deGrom’s fastball-slider duo.

DeGrom finished the 2022 season with a 5-4 record and a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts, though his peripherals best exemplified his dominance: 102 strikeouts to just eight walks, with nine homers allowed.

It continued the kind of performances he had in the previous four seasons, when he won his two Cy Youngs and rose from a former ninth-round pick out of Stetson University – where he won. played at shortstop – at most unbeatable. world launcher.

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

At the end of his freshman season, when he posted a 2.69 ERA over 140⅓ innings, expectations rose. DeGrom made a National League All-Star Team in his sophomore season and received Cy Young votes in his fourth year before breaking out at age 30 in 2018. In 217 innings , deGrom struck out 269, walked 46, allowed just 10 homers and posted a 1.70 ERA en route to his first Cy Young.

He earned back-to-back awards with a 2.43 ERA over 204 innings with 255 strikeouts in 2019. That spring, he 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 hit 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 the season with arm problems and the first half of the 2022 season, leading some to question whether he would give up the final two years of his contract.

He did – and with good reason. DeGrom’s market was robust, even with fears over his age and health. A year ago, the Mets signed future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million deal when he was 37.

While deGrom doesn’t match Scherzer’s average annual value, the $37 million a year tops the previous No. 2, New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, and, with the lack of carryovers and taxes, is closer to the Scherzer number than the on-paper spread.

The Rangers’ drive to reach this level has stunned the industry. While it was clear that Texas – whose starters’ ERA of 4.63 ranked 25th out of 30 teams this year – planned to continue the pitch, giving deGrom a fifth season signaled his intention to get the best launcher on the market.

With deGrom, Gray, Martin Perez and Jake Odorizzi, along with young big leaguers 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 won’t be easy. At the top of the division are defending World Series champion Houston, who signed first baseman Jose Abreu and reliever Rafael Montero, and behind the Astros this season were the wild card winners Seattle Mariners. , who added outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and second baseman Kolten Wong in the trade. .

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