Rangers hurler Jacob deGrom will undergo Tommy John Surgery and will miss the remainder of this season, and likely much of the 2024 season. The news comes one day after Texas transferred him to the 60-day IL. This will be the second Tommy John Surgery for the right-hander, after undergoing the operation in 2010 while pitching in the rookie-level Appalachian League.
deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million contract with Texas over the offseason. So far, he has made six starts with his new club, posting a 2.67 ERA, a 1.57 FIP, and a 0.76 WHIP, with 45 strikeouts in 30 1⁄3 innings pitched. He last took the mound on April 28, when he threw 3 2⁄3 shutout innings against the Yankees before exiting with right elbow inflammation. He recently threw a bullpen session, which seemed to go well. When speaking on the news, a tearful deGrom said he hopes to be back before the end of the 2024 season.
Obviously, we would not normally report on another team’s pitcher suffering a significant injury, but deGrom means a great deal to many Mets fans such as myself. deGrom has spent the first nine seasons of his career in New York, where he won a Rookie of the Year Award in 2014, back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019, earned four All Star Game nods, and finished in the top-10 in MVP voting twice. Between 2018 and 2021, Jacob deGrom starts were a must-see spectacle at Citi Field and around the league. He finished his tenure in Flushing with a 2.52 ERA, a 2.62 FIP, and a 1.00 WHIP. He concluded his time with the Mets with 82 wins, 1,607 strikeouts, and a 41.2 bWAR. He ranks in the top five in almost every major pitching category for the franchise and will undoubtedly find himself in the Mets Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
In the middle of putting together one of the best halves of baseball ever compiled by a starting pitcher in 2021—a 1.08 ERA, a 1.24 FIP, and a 0.55 WHIP in 92 innings—deGrom suffered a number of injuries that ended up keeping him out the remainder of the year and much of the 2022 season. Amid that, he had a falling out with Sandy Alderson, who revealed in September 2021 that he had a partially-torn UCL, something deGrom did not consent to having Alderson reveal. He entered 2022 announcing that he would be opting out of his contract, and he made good on that promise that offseason before defecting for Texas.
There will be many fans who will use this to validate the team’s decision to move on, or take a victory lap at seeing the club’s former ace, who left the team he spent his entire career with, suffer a career setback. But this is an incredibly sad day for the sport and for Mets fans who recall the joys of watching deGrom pitch at his peak. The truth is, the sport is better off when deGrom is pitching at the top of his game, and this will likely keep him out until the 2025 season.
When asked about the news, Justin Verlander, who effectively replaced deGrom to replace the team’s former ace, said:
Anybody who’s a fan of baseball just wants to see Jake be healthy and go pitch. A few years back, you were bale to see what he can do, stringing together a few healthy seasons. Everybody would love to see that again, including me. He’s special.
Get well soon, Jake. Hope to see you back on the major league mound and dominating the sport sooner rather than later.