Does Jacob deGrom like New York? Did he enjoy playing for the Mets? The answer to each of those questions might be yes, but just not enough to stick around in Flushing for the remainder of his MLB career.
When deGrom opted out of his six-year, $137.5 million contract at the conclusion of the World Series, his desire seemed pretty clear. The hurler’s representation was seeking an annual average salary north of the $43.3 million New York awarded Max Scherzer last winter.
He didn’t break that AAV record, but holy crap did the man get paid. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Rangers and deGrom have agreed to a five-year, $185 million deal. It includes a conditional sixth-year option that could raise the total value to $222 million. Also, deGrom has secured a full no-trade clause.
This isn’t pending a physical, either. He passed it and the deal is done.
DeGrom has been limited to just 26 starts over the past two seasons because of injury. This included him going more than a full calendar year between MLB starts. His cumulative performance was still eye-opening, though. This period of time covered 156.1 innings pitched. All deGrom did was post a 1.70 ERA and 0.63 WHIP while compiling a 44.0% strikeout rate and 3.4% walk rate.
Even with missing all that time, the right-hander’s 25.6 fWAR since the start of 2018 is still the most among qualified starting pitchers. He’s also left quite an imprint on the franchise leaderboards.
His 2.52 career ERA is the best in franchise history. The same can be said about his 30.8% strikeout rate. DeGrom compiled 41.1 fWAR during his Mets career, which is third in club history. The only two ahead of him are Tom Seaver (67.7) and Dwight Gooden (52.1). They both tossed at least 1,000 more innings than he did while donning the Orange and Blue, too.
We knew New York was likely OK with awarding deGrom $40-plus million per year, but it was the number of years that was a sticking point. It seems like that’s what ultimately got the deal done with Texas.
As for where the Mets go from here, we know general manager Billy Eppler and his front office will be able to quickly pivot to other options. New York has been in contact with several top free-agent starters this winter. Now it’ll be a question of which ones the Mets prefer and how far along they already are in negotiations.
Based on what we’ve heard over the last month or two, we can be sure of one thing. This isn’t the outcome New York was hoping for, but there’s no way it’s catching them flat-footed.
If you’re already wondering when deGrom will make his return to Citi Field as a visiting player, the Rangers will be in Flushing for a series from August 28-30.