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Rangers and Jacob deGrom agree to 5-year, $185 million contract

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Jeff PassanESPN

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CloseESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

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Two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom has agreed to a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers, sources told ESPN, bringing baseball’s most talented pitcher to a hungry pitching organization that is making massive investments in agents. free per second directly out of season.

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

DeGrom, 34, who has 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 pitching just 64⅓ innings in 2022. He missed out. the first four months of the season with a shoulder stress reaction and injuries had limited him to 224⅓ innings over the past three seasons.

Texas looked past those issues and saw deGrom’s potential to be a transformational figure in the organization. He shattered industry-wide expectations for a near-term deal with the five-year package that sources say includes a sixth-year option to bring the total contract value to $222 million.

Classification MLBERA2.051stOpp OPS.5301stOpp BA.1882ndK/912.22ndWHIP0.872ndK/BB6.902ndHR/90.712nd

The signing comes just a year after the Rangers gifted shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract and signed second baseman Marcus Semien to a seven-year, $175 million contract. Coupled 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 so far continues the spending. The contract does not include any deferred money and gives deGrom a full no-trade clause, the sources said. Between that and the lack of a state tax in Texas, competing teams would have had to cross the $40 million-a-year threshold and stretch the offer to compete with the Rangers.

In deGrom, the Rangers secured a right-handed pitcher with the best arsenal of pitches among starters: a 100-plus mph fastball he throws with exquisite command, a hard-hitting slider that sits in the 90s, and a changeup and curveball. that would be elite pitches to others, but serve as a complement to deGrom’s fastball and slider duo.

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

He continued the kind of performances he had put in over the previous four seasons, winning both of his Cy Young Cy Youngs and rising from a former ninth-round pick out of Stetson University, where he played shortstop, to the most unstoppable. world pitcher.

He didn’t make his Mets debut until a month shy of his 26th birthday, and with Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz also among the Mets’ young starters, deGrom wasn’t considered a future star.

At the end of his first season, when he posted a 2.69 ERA in 140⅓ innings, expectations were raised. DeGrom made the 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. Over 217 innings, deGrom struck out 269 batters, walked 46 , allowed just 10 home runs and posted a 1.70 ERA en route to his first Cy Young Award.

He earned back-to-back awards with a 2.43 ERA in 204 innings with 255 strikeouts in 2019. That spring, he had signed a five-year contract extension that included an opt-out after the 2022 season.

ERA4.6325thWHIP1.4126thBB/93.6029thK/92.1928th

After pitching 68 innings in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, deGrom saw his prime 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 wonder if he would forgo the last two years of his contract.

It did, and for good reason. DeGrom’s market was solid, even with concerns about his age and health. A year ago, the Mets signed future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million deal even though he was 37 years old.

While deGrom didn’t match Scherzer’s median annual worth, the $37 million a year tops previous No. 2 New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and, with the lack of deferrals and taxes, is closer to Scherzer number than paper. gap.

The Rangers’ willingness to get to that level surprised the industry. While it was clear that Texas, whose 4.63 starting ERA ranked 25th out of 30 teams this year, planned to keep pitching, giving deGrom a fifth season signaled his intent to get the best pitcher 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 suddenly find themselves in a much better position.

Competition in the AL West will not be easy. At the top of the division is defending World Series champion Houston, which signed first baseman José Abreu and reliever Rafael Montero, and behind the Astros this season were the wild-card-winning Seattle Mariners, who added outfielder Teoscar Hernández and second baseman Kolten Wong in trades. .

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