Texas Rangers sign Jacob deGrom to five-year deal

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 2, 2022 07:36 PM
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deGrom gets $185 million guaranteed with a full no-trade clause to bolster Rangers rotation

Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom became the first huge free agent domino to fall by signing a five-year, $185 million deal to become the ace of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers only went 68-94 after spending big money to sign SS Corey Seager and 2B Marcus Semien last offseason, but they’re looking to make a run in the AL West with the signing of a bona fide ace.

Rangers pitching needed help

Making deGrom the top offseason target made a ton of sense. The Rangers finished 22nd in ERA at 4.22 and 22nd in FIP at 4.18. More importantly, they were 25th in starter ERA at 4.63 and 24th in FIP at 4.42. Rangers starters only accounted for 37 wins, tied for 24th. Texas’s best pitcher, Martin Perez, accepted his qualifying offer and will stick around, but he was the only pitcher to throw at least 154 innings last season. Jon Gray joined Perez (2.89 ERA) as the only other starter with at least eight starts to have an ERA under 4.00.

The Rangers used 16 different starting pitchers this past season, but now have a pretty good 1-2-3 with deGrom, Perez and Gray. Depth is still an issue, but with multiple World Series winning manager Bruce Bochy at the helm, the Rangers are going to be active in free agency and focus the bulk of their attention on the pitching side.

2023 World Series Odds

The Rangers went from +3500 to +2500 within 10 minutes after the deGrom signing was announced, but they had been at +6000 right after the Houston Astros won the 2022 Fall Classic. Truth be told, the Rangers are still well behind the Seattle Mariners (+1600) and Houston Astros (+550), who are the favorites, but they are much better today than they were yesterday.

When AL West odds are posted, the Rangers will still be lined as a fairly distant third behind the Astros and Mariners, but we’ll also have to see what the rest of the offseason holds.

Jacob deGrom career stats

The 34-year-old deGrom does come with some risk, as he only threw 64.1 innings in 2022 and just 92 innings in 2021. When healthy, he is the game’s most dominant pitcher, owning a career 2.52 ERA with a 2.62 FIP over 1,326 innings. Since the start of the 2018 season, deGrom has a 2.05 ERA with a 2.14 FIP in 645.1 innings across 102 starts.

deGrom has struck out 352 batters and walked just 37 over his last 224.1 innings of work, which amounts to a little more than a full season. That also spans across three seasons, highlighting the injury risks that he has. The contract, which includes a sixth year option that would take the value up to $222 million, runs until he’s 40, so the Rangers will have to monitor his workload and health carefully.

While the Rangers may seem like a surprising destination, there are huge tax implications here for deGrom, as he won’t pay state tax on the $185 million by being in Texas.

MLB Winter Meetings

The timing of deGrom’s signing is rather interesting, as the annual MLB Winter Meetings begin on Sunday Dec. 4 in San Diego. A lot of signings, trades and other transactions take place during the event, but one of the biggest free agent fish has been hooked. Now all eyes turn to pitchers like Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon, especially for the New York Mets, who likely anticipated to have deGrom back in the fold and also have to contend with the loss of Chris Bassitt.

One option could be Kodai Senga, who is an MLB free agent after leaving the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. The 29-year old had a 2.59 ERA in 275 games in the NPB and is one of the hottest commodities on the free agent market.

The MLB Hot Stove should heat up this month, so keep an eye on the news and try to get ahead of some of the futures odds movement if you can.

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