ARLINGTON, Texas — The hot stove, turns out, was right this time: As teased for a few weeks now, the Texas Rangers announced on Friday night that the team has signed 34-year-old free agent right-handed pitcher Jacob deGrom to a five-year contract reportedly worth $185 million.
It's a major coup for a team in desperate need for pitching.
In nine seasons with the Mets, the right-handed DeGrom compiled a 2.52 ERA with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings. He's a a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner (2018 and 2019), a two-time All-MBA First Team selection (2019 and 2020), a four-time All-Star selection (2015, 2018, 2019 and 2021) and was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014.
DeGrom's signing is also an indication that the team's record-breaking offseason free agent spending from last year -- during which the team spent a reported $561 million to bring shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien, outfielder Kole Calhoun and pitcher Jon Gray into the fold -- was not the aberration some fans feared it could be. Earlier this offseason, the team also signed 67-year-old Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series-winning manager for the San Francisco Giants, as its next manager.
Injuries have been DeGrom's main issue throughout his career, but when he's healthy, he's been historically elite.
He's the active career leader for Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) at 2.62, and WHIP (Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched) at 0.998. Among pitchers with at least 200 starts in the MLB expansion era, DeGrom's career 2.52 career ERA ranks him third all time, behind only Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw. He has 1607 career strikeouts ranks as the highest total notched by any MLB pitcher ever through his first 209 outings.
Last season, DeGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA (22 ER/64.1 IP) over 11 games/starts for the Mets in 2022 after missing the first our months of the season with a stress reaction on his right scapula.
ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan reports that the deal -- formalized today by the team following a passing of a physical by DeGrom -- is a five-year, $185 million contract that includes a no-trade clause and a sixth-year option that ups the deal's total to $222 million.
In his own tweets about the news, Passan called DeGrom "the most talented pitcher in the world."
After the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Rangers will host a press conference at Glove Life Field next week to formally introduce DeGrom as the team's newest addition.
"We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," said Rangers Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Young in a press release sent . "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. One of our primary goals this off-season is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."