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No amount of bug spray can rid you of the injury bug — something Rangers’ starter Jacob deGrom unfortunately knows all too well. 

Once again, deGrom’s season is cut short thanks to his body letting him down. From the ace’s debut in 2014 all the way until he second consecutive Cy Young-winning campaign in 2019 — deGrom was a mainstay in the Mets rotation. He started at least 22 games in each of those six seasons, never derailed by the big injury. 

But from that moment on, deGrom has been eaten alive by the injury bug and it continues to take a hefty bite, year after year. He’s only started 44 games since 2020 and that number will remain the same into at least 2024 — as the book on 2023 is now closed.

MORE: How long is Jacob deGrom out?

The Rangers starter is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. The announcement came just one day after the team transferred him to the 60-day injured list. 

Texas inked deGrom — often considered the best pitcher in baseball when healthy — to a five-year, $185 million deal in December, an early holiday gift to the fans.

Below is a look at his contract and how it will be impacted by his latest injury.

Jacob deGrom contract details

The Rangers signed deGrom because they already had the necessary offense to compete but were in need of pitching. It just so happened that the former Met was more than happy to follow his fellow New Yorkers and move to the Lone Star State. 

Everything is bigger in Texas and the 35-year-old deGrom’s contract is more evidence of that. Here is how the five-year deal breaks down over its duration.

Year Age Base salary
2023 35 $30,000,000
2024 36 $40,000,000
2025 37 $40,000,000
2026 38 $38,000,000
2027 39 $37,000,000
2028 40 $20,000,000 (club option with ability to reach $37,000,000 if incentives are met)

With deGrom making only six starts in 2023, there’s a good chance that he’ll earn $70 million through 2024 for only 30 1/3 innings pitched. 

MORE: Stephen Strasburg shut down with ‘severe nerve damage’

Now that his 2023 campaign is over, it’s left many to speculate what the contractual impact is for Texas.

The surgery will, in fact, trigger part of a conditional option that the Rangers had built into the contract. And it may actually keep him with the Rangers for an extra year.

Here’s a closer look at that, as the Associated Press and USA Today detailed in December.

Texas has a conditional option for 2028 that would be triggered if, from 2023-26, deGrom has Tommy John surgery on his right elbow or has any right elbow or shoulder injury that causes him to be on the injured list for an extended period — 130 consecutive days during any season, or 186 days in a row during any service period.

The conditional option would be for $30 million if deGrom finishes among the top five in Cy Young voting during the contract or pitches at least 625 innings. The option price would increase to $37 million if he finishes among the top five three times or more or pitches at least 725 innings. If he falls short of those specifications, the conditional option price would be $20 million.

Based on all accounts, that appears to be the extent of any insurance that the Rangers organization regarding deGrom’s deal. 

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported in early May that “insuring [deGrom’s] five-year, $185 million contract would have been prohibitively expensive, according to sources who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.”

What Tommy John surgery means for Jacob deGrom, Rangers

For baseball fans, it’s another season that will finish without the game’s best pitcher on the field. For deGrom, it’s at least another 12 months of rehab and recovery — hoping it results in better health down the road. 

It also means that deGrom will be at least 36 by the time he steps on an MLB mound again.

As for the Rangers, they will have to rely on their pitching depth to fill in for deGrom the rest of the season. While deGrom is talented, the Rangers have fared well without him, as replacement Dane Dunning entered Tuesday with a record of 4-1 and a 2.06 ERA.

Texas also has Cody Bradford and Glenn Otto available to join an already strong rotation headlined by Nathan Eovaldi, Dunning, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Martin Perez. So, the Rangers are built to withstand the loss of deGrom, though they will miss his star power.

Will Jacob deGrom retire?

To this point, deGrom has never discussed his plans for retirement or whether that is an option given his injury history. 

Following the news that his 2023 season was over, the starter expressed that he will return, setting a goal to pitch again before the 2024 season concludes. 

MORE: Who is Grant Anderson? Meet the Rangers reliever who sparkled in MLB debut

For what it’s worth, his former manager Buck Showalter expressed similar thoughts.

At least we’ll always have his “Simple Man” introduction to hold us over.

For a pitcher that was once on a no-doubt Hall of Fame track, what’s become of deGrom’s career might instead turn into one of the greatest “what could’ve beens” in MLB history. 



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