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Rangers ink Jacob deGrom for first blockbuster deal of MLB offseason

© Brad Penner | 2022 Oct 8

Jacob deGrom, not Aaron Judge, became the first domino to fall in a previously quiet MLB offseason.

deGrom, the former Mets ace, signed a massive five-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the $37 million AAV contract includes a sixth-year option and a full no-trade clause.

Bruce Bochy, Texas’ new manager, now adds another all-time great pitcher to the long list of stars he’s coached.

Passan was the first to report the news, and the Rangers made the signing official.

deGrom, when healthy, is this generation’s most dominant starter. The two-time Cy Young award winner has a career 2.52 ERA and has averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings — the second best figure in MLB history among pitchers with at least 1,300 innings.

But deGrom has only started 26 games in the past two seasons as he’s dealt with a variety of injuries to his throwing arm. Texas’ five-year offer provides long-term security the 34-year-old may have not gotten elsewhere — plus the benefits of no state income tax.

The Rangers finished fourth in the American League West despite landing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien during last year’s free agency period. They’ve now committed at least $668 million to the trio of Seager, Semien and deGrom.

Although deGrom is the first superstar to change teams this winter, other starters who have signed indicate a trend that this will be a market favorable to starting pitchers. Former Giant Matt Boyd inked a one-year, $10 million pact with the Tigers despite logging just 13.1 innings last year; Zach Eflin signed with the Rays for three-years, $40 million — above his market estimates.

That all should bode well for Carlos Rodón, who is testing free agency after a remarkable 2022 season with the Giants. Rodón is about to turn 30 and finished sixth in National League Cy Young voting.

Plenty of teams — now including the Mets, run by Steve Cohen — need a top-shelf starter, and Rodón is probably the best available.

 

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