The untouchable Jacob de Grom has agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers, the club announced Friday.
The contract is five years and $185 million, with a six-year conditional option that would add value to $222 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. DeGrom would have received a no-trade clause.
After seeing the average annual value record soar for beginners – Max Scherzer reset it last off-season with his $43.3 million a year deal – the 34-year-old exercised the exclusion clause within five years, $137.5 million he signed before the 2019 season.
The deal did not reach Scherzer’s annual salary of $37 million per year, but its duration ensures the safety of a pitcher who has suffered a series of injuries in recent years.
Despite these durability issues, deGrom was the strongest pitch on the market. With only a few pitchers in his kingdom, his profile compared to joking last winter, at his age of 38 and Justin Verlander this winter, at a age of 40.
The Rangers beat two of the best players in the World Cup Marcus Semien and Corey Seager last winter. Texas has already made waves, albeit in small size, in the winter by hiring world champion Bruce Bochy as manager three times.
“We are excited that Jacob deGrom has chosen the Texas Ranger,” Rangers executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a press release. “Jacob has been an outstanding Major League player over several seasons and he gives us a dominant actor at the top of our rotation. One of our main goals in this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best. I would also like to acknowledge our owner group, led by Ray Davis, for further providing the resources to create a win-win culture here in Arlington. On behalf of the entire organization, I welcome Jacob, his wife Stacey and the whole deGrom family to the Rangers.”
deGrom will now face a rotation that was one of the weak points on the Rangers’ roster. Texas acquired Jake Odorizzi of the Atlanta Braves in early November, making Grom the second addition to their first five starts; they also retained Martin Pérez when he accepted the qualifying offer.The Rangers also have a number of young starters on the way, including the final five stages of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker and Owen White.
The Rangers could possibly run out of the following opening day:
Jacob of Grom
The signing will certainly have a significant effect at the upcoming winter meetings, which will begin on Sunday. His former team, the New York Mets, will likely chase the first free agents in the effort to replace him, as well as fill the holes left by supporter Chris Bassitt, Tajiuan Walker and Trevor Williams. Such efforts are expected to include, among other possible options, Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodón and Kodai Senga.