Right-handed starter Jacob deGrom has agreed to a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers, the club announced on Friday night. No financial terms were disclosed by the organization, but MLB.com’s Kennedi Landry reports that the deal is worth $185 million.
deGrom, 34, was ranked by CBS Sports as the second best free agent available this winter.:
It reads oddly given deGrom’s excellent track record, but he might be the biggest risk-reward proposition in the class. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the sport since he debuted in 2014, of course, amassing two Cy Young Awards and four All-Star Games appearances along the way. There’s no questioning his legacy, or his ability to throw a baseball with great efficacy when he’s healthy — therein lies the rub: how often will he be healthy heading forward? Injuries have limited deGrom to 26 starts over the last two seasons, and he’s now a half-year shy of turning 35. Pitchers do not tend to stay healthier as they age. Seeing as how deGrom opted out of a one-year pact that would have paid him $32.5 million, it’s likely that he’s seeking a deal with an AAV closer to the $43 million Max Scherzer received last winter. Someone will undoubtedly pony up for a chance at adding a bonafide ace to their rotation, but they may end up experiencing buyer’s remorse if deGrom’s body continues to fail to comply.
This marks the second consecutive offseason the Rangers have made a splash, following last winter’s signings of two of the top position players available in Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. Texas made waves earlier in the winter, albeit on a small magnitude, by hiring three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as manager.
The Rangers could conceivably run out the following rotation come Opening Day:
The signing is sure to have a meaningful effect on the upcoming winter meetings, set to begin Sunday. His old team, the New York Mets, will likely pursue the top free-agent starters in an effort to replace him, as well as fill holes left by the departing Chris Bassitt, Tajiuan Walker and Trevor Williams. Those efforts are expected to include Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodón, and Kodai Senga, among other possible options.