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Injury protection included in Jacob deGrom’s big-money deal with Texas

Jacob deGrom’s $37 million average annual salary with Texas is second among pitchers behind the $43.3 million for former New York Mets teammate Max Scherzer.Elsa/Getty

Jacob deGrom’s $185 million, five-year contract with Texas includes a pair of conditional options, one that protects the Rangers against an arm injury and another that would make the deal worth $222 million over six seasons if he remains a top pitcher at the end of 2027.

The deal agreed to Friday with the two-time Cy Young Award winner includes salaries of $30 million next year, $40 million each in 2024 and ‘25, $38 million in 2026, and $37 million in 2027.

DeGrom’s $37 million average annual salary is second among pitchers behind the $43.3 million for former New York Mets teammate Max Scherzer, topping Gerrit Cole’s $36 million with the New York Yankees as part of his $324 million, nine-year contract.

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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.

DeGrom’s conditional option would be triggered at $37 million if the conditional team option doesn’t get met, he pitches at least 160 innings in 2027 and finishes among the top five in Cy Young voting, and an independent doctor examines him and determines he is more likely than not to be healthy for the start of the 2028 season.

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He gets a full no-trade provision and would earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a Cy Young, $200,000 for finishing second, $150,000 for third, $100,000 for fourth, and $50,000 for fifth.

DeGrom would get a $150,000 bonus for winning the World Series MVP award and $100,000 for All-Star election or selection, winning a Gold Glove or a League Championship Series MVP Award.

He has the right to buy six of the best available premium seats for all home games and agrees to make a $150,000 annual charitable contribution.

Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds asks out

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade ahead of baseball’s winter meetings.

Reynolds hit .262 with 27 homers and 62 RBIs in 145 games last season, when Pittsburgh finished with a 62-100 record. He broke into the majors in 2019, batting .314 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 134 games to finish fourth in balloting for NL Rookie of the Year. Reynolds made the NL All-Star team for the first time last year, hitting .302 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs. He also had a career-best .390 on-base percentage and eight triples, tied for the major league high.

In Reynolds’ four years with the team, the Pirates are 211-335 for a .386 winning percentage.

Reynolds, who turns 28 in January, likely would be an attractive trade option for a contender looking for an outfielder at the winter meetings that start Sunday in San Diego. But it doesn’t sound as if Pittsburgh is inclined to let him go.

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“While it is disappointing, this will have zero impact on our decision-making this offseason or in the future,” the team said in a statement. “Our goal is to improve the Pirates for 2023 and beyond. With three years until he hits free agency, Bryan remains a key member of our team. We look forward to him having a great season for the Pirates.”

The Pirates GM is former Red Sox boss Ben Cherington, with Boston among many teams to show interest in Reynolds.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported on Reynolds’ trade request. The New York Post reported Reynolds was offered the largest contract in Pirates’ history — topping Ke’Bryan Hayes’ eight-year, $70 million extension signed in April — but Hayes had played just two major-league seasons at the time to Reynolds’s four.

Pittsburgh has been rebuilding this winter. The team acquired Ji-Man Choi in a trade with Tampa Bay on Nov. 10 and signed fellow first baseman Carlos Santana to a one-year, $6.75 million contract.

Report: Aaron Judge likely to get nine-year deal

The Athletic reported wherever Yankees slugger Aaron Judge lands in free agency, “it appears increasingly likely the winning bid will be for nine guaranteed years.” That would be multiple years beyond the seven-year, $213.5 million extension Judge rejected at the end of spring training, right before he posted a 62-homer, 131-RBI campaign that made him easy winner of the American League MVP. ESPN has reported New York’s offer has increased to “the neighborhood of eight years and $300 million,” with San Francisco the leading candidate to snipe the 30-year-old from the place he’s spent his first seven MLB seasons . . . The Athletic also reported Baltimore is in agreement with free-agent righthander Kyle Gibson on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The 35-year-old had a 5.05 ERA in 167⅔ innings with Philadelphia last season, his third team during a 10-year career including Minnesota (2013-2019) and Texas (2020-21) . . . Infielder Jeimer Candelario is guaranteed $5 million under his one-year contract with the Washington Nationals. The 29-year-old switch-hitter hit .217 for the Detroit Tigers this season with a .272 on-base percentage. But in 2021, he tied for the major league lead with 42 doubles and batted .271 with a .351 on-base percentage, 16 homers and a career-best 67 RBIs . . . Catcher Luke Maile has a $1.175 million salary as part of a one-year contract with his hometown Cincinnati Reds. The 31-year-old hit .221 with three homers and seven RBIs last season for the Cleveland Guardians. He is a .207 career hitter with 13 homers and 80 RBIs for Tampa Bay (2015-16), Toronto (2017-19), Milwaukee (2021), and Cleveland.

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