Year one (2013): $5 million. Arbitration avoided. Maybe even at a slight club discount.
Year two (2014): $8 million. Arbitration avoided. Another club discount if he pitches in 2013 anything close to the way he did in 2012, when his WAR measure quietly trailed only Justin Verlander, David Price, and Clayton Kershaw.
Year three (2015): $13 million. First year of free agency bought out.
Year four (2016): $13 million. Second year of free agency bought out.
Year five (2017): $13 million. Third year of free agency bought out.
A possible year six (2018): A club option at a minimum of $13.25 million (and possibly as much as $15.75 million) that Texas can buy out for $2 million – unless he logs 200 innings in 2015 and again in 2016 and again in 2017, in which case the option becomes guaranteed and Texas will be thrilled to pay it, buying out a fourth year of free agency.
Add a $1 million signing bonus to the five guaranteed seasons and the 2018 buyout, and Matt Harrison gets $55 million, at least, to continue pitching here if the Rangers want him to continue pitching here, and to extend the payoff of The Trade, which was made when he was a 21-year-old Class AA lefthander that the club insisted on, potentially until he’s 33 years old.
Age 26; club control through 2017
Age 27; club control through 2018
Age 26; club control through 2018
Age 29; club control through 2016
The reality is that those four won’t be members of this rotation for the next four seasons. Texas will always look to add to the very top, to avoid getting too old, to continue to develop from within.
Not every one of those four will retire as Rangers.
Chances are good, in fact, that not every one of them will be here for the duration of their current contracts.
But man, payroll certainty is a tremendous thing, not to mention having a ballclub with four starting pitchers under the age of 30 deemed worthy of that sort of long-term commitment.
Tonight’s Matt Harrison news is all kinds of outstanding, for the player and for the club and for those of us into the idea that fewer core free agents to worry about in any given winter is a good thing.
Sorry for the brevity, but this one just doesn’t need all that much analysis.