Two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob DeGrum has agreed to a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers, sources tell ESPN, bringing baseball’s most talented pitcher to an action-hungry organization that’s making a massive free-agent investment for the first time. the second. straight offseason.
Rangers announced the deal Friday night, but did not disclose the terms.
The 34-year-old deGrum, who spent the nine seasons of his major league football career with the New York Mets, opted out of the final two years of his contract despite only throwing 64 innings in 2022. He missed the first four months of the season with a stress reaction in His shoulder injuries limited him to 224 innings over the past three seasons.
Texas looked beyond those issues and into the possibility of DeGrom being a transformative figure in the organization. He shattered industry expectations for a short-term deal with a five-year package that sources said includes an option for a sixth year to bring the total contract value to $222 million.
The signing comes barely a year after the Rangers sank shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million deal and signed second baseman Marcus Semin to seven years, $175 million. Combined with John Gray’s $56 million four-year deal, the Rangers spent the most money in the 2021-22 season.
Bringing in DeGrom with the biggest signing of the 2022-23 season so far keeps spending going. The sources said the contract does not include any deferred funds and gives Degrum a full non-trade clause. Between that and the lack of a state tax in Texas, competing teams had to cross the $40 million per year threshold and extend the length of the show to compete with the Rangers.
In DeGrom, the Rangers’ got a right-hander with the best arsenal of pitches among rookies: a 100-plus-mph fastball that he throws with remarkable command, a hard-hitting slider that’s mid-90s hit and change-up. and curveball that would be elite courts 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 extensions better illustrated his dominance: 102 strikeouts against just eight walks, with nine runs allowed.
He continued the kind of performances he had over the previous four seasons, when he won both the Cy Youngs and promoted himself from a former Stetson University ninth-round pick—where he played shortstop—to a tougher one. jar in the world.
He did not debut with the Mets until a month before he turned 26, and with Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Stephen Matz also among the Mets’ junior starters, DeGrom was not seen as a future star.
By the end of his senior season, when he posted a 2.69 ERA over 140 pitches, expectations had grown. DeGrom made the National League All-Star team in his sophomore season and earned Cy Young votes in his fourth year before breaking out as a 30-year-old in 2018. Over 217 innings pitched, deGrom struck out 269 batters, walked 46, and allowed only 10 runs. home run and posted a 1.70 ERA en route to his first Cy Young hit.
He earned back-to-back awards with a 2.43 ERA over 204 innings pitched with 255 strikeouts in 2019. That spring, he signed a five-year contract extension that included opt-out after the 2022 season.
After throwing 68 innings in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, DeGrum looked at his peak in 2021, posting a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts, with 146 strikeouts and 11 walks in 92 innings pitched. But he missed more than half of the season with arm problems and the first half of the 2022 season, leading some to wonder if he would give up the last two years of his deal.
He did – and for good reason. DeGrom’s market was strong, even as there were concerns about his age and health. A year ago, future Mets Hall of Famer Max Scherzer signed a three-year, $130 million contract despite being 37 years old.
While DeGrom hasn’t matched Scherzer’s average annual worth, at $37 million a year he surpasses former No. 2, New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, and with no deferrals and taxes, he’s closer to Scherzer’s figure than on the paper difference.
The Rangers’ willingness to go to this level stunned the industry. While it was clear that Texas — whose rookie ERA of 4.63 ranks 25th out of 30 this year — planned to follow through, giving DeGrom a fifth season indicated its intent to get the best pitcher on the market.
With deGrum, Gray, Martin Perez and Jake Odorezi, along with young senior players Dean Dunning and Glenn Otto and prospects Kumar Rucker, Jack Leiter and Owen White, Rangers are suddenly in a much better position.
Competing in the American League West will not be easy. Atop the division is defending World Series champion Houston, who signed first baseman Jose Abreu and reliever Rafael Montero, and behind the Astros this season is the wild-card-winning Seattle Mariners, who have added outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and second baseman Colten Wong in trades. .
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