Rangers ace Jacob deGrom to undergo surgery to repair his UCL six starts into 5-year, $185M deal

The Texas Rangers will be without their $185 million man for the rest of the season. Jacob deGrom will undergo surgery to repair his UCL, a move that will cost the ace the rest of the 2023 MLB season and much of 2024 as well, team general manager Chris Young announced Tuesday.

The news comes months after deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million deal with the Rangers in the offseason. DeGrom made six starts with the Rangers before going on the injured list due to elbow inflammation.

The team ominously placed deGrom on the 60-day IL on Monday and announced that he would undergo an MRI; that MRI revealed the extent of the injury. In six starts with the Rangers this season, deGrom posted a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 30 1/3 innings.

Arm injuries have plagued deGrom the past three seasons. He has not thrown more than 100 innings in a season since 2019, though he did make 12 starts in the pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB season. Since then, however, deGrom has missed a lot of time. Despite those injuries, he has performed like the best pitcher in baseball when healthy. Since 2021, he has a 2.03 ERA over 186 2/3 innings. He struck out 293 batters in that period.

DeGrom has already had Tommy John surgery once in his career. After being drafted by the New York Mets in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft, he made six starts in the minors before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2011 season before returning in 2012.

DeGrom gave some insight into his timetable this time, saying that he is aiming to return before the end of the 2024 season.

Undergoing a second Tommy John surgery is believed to be a riskier procedure than the first time around. That said, Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi underwent two Tommy John surgeries and is in the midst of his finest season as a pro. Mike Clevinger, Daniel Hudson and Jameson Taillon also underwent two Tommy John surgeries and returned as effective players. Hudson converted to the bullpen following his second surgery.

Then again, none of those players experienced the same success as deGrom prior to the second surgery. From 2014-20, deGrom was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He won the Rookie of the Year award, took home two Cy Young awards and made three All-Star teams in that period. His 2.61 ERA over that span was 50% better than league average.