The Texas Rangers made the first big move of the offseason by inking All-Star pitcher Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million with a conditional option for a sixth season. The length of this deal may have officially taken the SF Giants out of the running for Carlos Rodón.
Does Jacob deGrom's contract take the SF Giants out of the running for Carlos Rodón?
There was very little surprise that deGrom's massive extension carried an average annual value of $37 million. However, it was a bit of a surprise that the veteran starter secured a five-year deal with an option for a sixth season.
That was unexpected as both MLB Trade Rumors and Fangraphs predicted that deGrom would sign a three-year deal. Given that he will be entering his age-35 season in 2023 and the fact that he has made just 26 starts over the past two seasons, a three-year deal seemed reasonable.
However, expectations of that were upended when his new deal was announced. This may have already had a ripple effect through the pitching market as Mike Puma of the NY Post reports that starter Chris Bassitt is seeking a deal of at least four years.
Bassitt will be entering his age-34 season next year, so Fangraphs and MLB Trade Rumors both suggested a three-year deal for the right-handed hurler. Clearly, it is a hot market for pitchers and this could affect the Giants' pursuit of Carlos Rodón.
Last week, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area poured some cold on this as he indicated that the Giants do not expect the hard-throwing lefty to return. That sentiment was likely solidified on Friday with deGrom's contract.
Rodón will be entering his age-30 season next year and he has been absolutely lights out since the start of the 2021 season. He is several years younger than both deGrom and Bassit and was likely expecting a deal in the neighborhood of five years this winter, which would buy him out through his age-34 season.
Now, Rodón and his representatives will likely be pushing for more than five years with deGrom's new deal serving as a template. They have age and performance in their favor.
Of course, this is bad news for the Giants. Since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018, San Francisco has not handed out a contract of more than three years. They did it with Tommy La Stella (three years, $18.75 million) and they did it with Anthony DeSclafani (three years, $36 million).
They have been reluctant to hand out deals in excess of three years and watched idly as Kevin Gausman secured a five-year deal from the Toronto Blue Jays last year.
Five years was always going to put the front office in an uncomfortable position with respect to retaining Rodón. However, if his representatives are pushing for more than that, I just cannot see the Giants entertaining the idea.
The Giants have expressed interest in re-signing the 29-year-old pitcher but on their teams, meaning a shorter deal with a high average annual value. It was unlikely that Rodón would be interested in that but deGrom's contract likely ends any realistic pursuit.