Texas Rangers snag Mets ace Jacob deGrom for 5 years, $185 million

Right-handed free agent pitcher Jacob deGrom on Friday (Dec. 2) left the New York Mets for a...
Right-handed free agent pitcher Jacob deGrom on Friday (Dec. 2) left the New York Mets for a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)(Frank Franklin II | AP)
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 12:14 PM CST
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ARLINGTON, Texas (WVUE) - The Texas Rangers made the first big splash of Major League Baseball’s winter free agent season, signing right-handed starting pitcher Jacob deGrom to a five-year contract worth $185 million on Friday (Dec. 2).

The Rangers’ enormous outlay for deGrom, 34, surprised many. The New York Mets reportedly offered the two-time Cy Young award winner a $40 million annual salary to stay in their rotation, but only for the next three seasons.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” the team’s executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major-league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation.”

Few question deGrom’s ability. He has struck out 30.8 percent of the batters faced in his career, the highest lifetime strikeout percentage by any pitcher in major-league history who has pitched at least 1,000 innings. His average of 10.91 strikeouts per nine innings trails only Chris Sale (11.07) among those who have pitched at least 1,300 innings in their career.

But deGrom’s durability makes the Rangers’ contract risky.

Entering his mid-30s, deGrom only made 11 starts for the Mets last season, going 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA. He missed the first four months of the season with a stress fracture in his right scapula, but after finally making his first start on Aug. 2, he led the majors with 102 strikeouts through the remainder of the season.

In his nine-year career with the Mets, deGrom only completed four of his 209 starts. After making 32 starts in both 2018 and 2019, injuries limited deGrom to a total of 38 starts over the past three seasons (2020-22).

The top two free agents on the market this winter were considered to be deGrom and Aaron Judge, the All-Star outfielder who slugged an American League-record 62 home runs last season for the New York Yankees.

The Mets might now join the pursuit of Judge, whose main suitors thus far have been the Yankees and San Francisco Giants. The Yankees are believed to have offered Judge an eight-year deal worth around $300 million to stay in the Bronx.

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