In the biggest splash so far of baseball’s off-season, Jacob deGrom, who won two Cy Young Awards as the ace of the Mets, has signed a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers announced the deal, which has already been finalized, and ESPN reported that deGrom will be guaranteed $185 million — a huge investment in a pitcher who has been limited to 26 starts over the last two seasons because of injuries.
DeGrom, 34, is 82-57 in his career with a 2.52 E.R.A. The Mets selected him in the ninth round of the 2010 draft. He quickly flourished, winning the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2014 and the N.L.’s Cy Young Award in 2018 and 2019.
The Mets had hoped that the pairing of deGrom and Max Scherzer at the front of their rotation could lead the team to its first World Series title since 1986, but a 101-win season ended in frustration when the team was eliminated in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
The potential for reward in deGrom is obvious, but he comes with a fair amount of risk after two seasons in which he struggled to stay on the field.
In 2021, he was having a career season, with a 1.08 E.R.A. in 15 starts, but arm issues ended his season in July. Injuries forced him to miss the start of the 2022 season as well, but he was able to start 11 games in the regular season with mixed results, by his standards, going 5-4 with a 3.08 E.R.A. He continued to put up elite statistics beyond E.R.A., however, with 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings and an opponents’ batting average of .175.
In Texas he will be asked to stabilize the pitching for a team that spent lavishly last off-season, committing $500 million to the infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but finished 68-94 thanks in large part to the team’s starters combining for a 4.63 E.R.A.