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Brandon Webb Rumors
The Rangers are set to announce their one-year deal with Brandon Webb. The contract is worth $3MM plus incentives that could bring the total value of the deal to $8-10MM. The team will make the deal official this afternoon, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).
Webb, 31, won the National League Cy Young award in 2006, when he went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA, 6.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Prior to the 2009 season, Webb had cemented himself as one of the best in the National League, totaling 1315 2/3 innings of 3.24 ERA ball with 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 since his 2003 debut. In addition to his 2006 Cy Young nod, he also finished second in both 2007 and 2008.
That seems like a long time ago though, as Webb has thrown just four innings since. Webb has spent a total of 372 days on the disabled list in his recovery from shoulder surgery in 2009. The Rangers will hope that this signing works out better than a similar move they made last season when they signed Rich Harden to a one-year deal.
Webb will join C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter in a Texas rotation that's trying to cope with the loss of Cliff Lee. The move may prove to be a risky decision for Webb, as the hitter-friendly environment in Texas isn't an ideal setting for a pitcher to re-establish his value. Returning to his outstanding career 62.4% groundball rate would help Webb mitigate the homer-happy confines of his new home park.
Webb and agent Jonathan Maurer were possibly deciding between the Rangers and an NL Central mystery team, widely believed to be the Reds. If that's true, then it's not as if Webb was ever considering a pitcher-friendly environment in the first place. Back in November, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith correctly predicted Webb would end up with the Rangers.
- Ryan believes that teams these days are "overpaying some free agents that probably shouldn’t be getting paid what they are." He has a three to four-year comfort level on free agent contracts, which of course the Rangers exceeded in their Cliff Lee offer. Noted Ryan, "And the thing is that Cliff could have gotten even more money than that if he'd been willing to go to another ballclub, which wouldn’t have been that competitive."
- The Rangers "are probably getting really close" on a Brandon Webb deal, in Ryan's words. Webb's physical is expected "early this week," tweeted Ken Rosenthal on Sunday.
- Asked about significant remaining additions, Ryan pointed to available designated hitter candidates. He even talked about how the Rangers could sign one DH and "then sign another one that might be good from the other side of the plate."
- Ryan admitted interest in Adrian Beltre, but suggested his team's fit for the third baseman is less clear-cut than the Angels or Athletics.
- Asked about acquiring a center fielder to allow Josh Hamilton to shift to left, Ryan instead pointed to internal center field candidates Julio Borbon and Engel Beltre.
- Ryan gave a general reply when asked how the Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth contracts will affect Hamilton. Ryan said that huge contracts have an impact on the entire game, and demonstrate the importance of developing from within. Hamilton is entering his second arbitration year; he's under team control through 2012. The Rangers have decent raises due for 2011 with Nelson Cruz and C.J. Wilson also among their arbitration eligible players.
Links for Sunday, as we start the countdown to next Christmas…
- Brandon Webb's physical with the Rangers will take place early this week, tweets Ken Rosenthal. No problems are anticipated.
- The Yankees have no interest in signing Manny Ramirez, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. They had internal talks about him earlier this offseason, but they already have a full-time designated hitter and three regular outfielders lined up.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff says the best-case scenario for the Rays would have Rafael Soriano signing with the Rockies, Cardinals, Padres, Rangers, Reds, Braves, Giants, Twins, or Phillies because they are non-AL East teams with unprotected first round picks. Just eyeballing it, about seven of those teams either don't need a closer or can't afford someone of Soriano's caliber.
- Within this Denver Post column by Troy Renck regarding expectations for Carlos Gonzalez, there's word that Todd Helton has already gotten on the outfielder about "not getting fat and happy."
- Anthony McCarron of The New York Daily News spoke to Mark Prior about his latest comeback attempt and all the injuries that derailed his career.
- The Phillies are now playing with the big boys, says Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
2:46pm: Stark provides an update saying that Webb is "closing in" on a decision. While the team hasn't confirmed its interest, many MLB executives call Cincinnati a "perfect fit" for Webb, according to Stark.
2:32pm: Cincinnati is the "principal challenger" to Texas for Webb's services, according to Ken Rosenthal's Major League sources.
While the Reds haven't confirmed their interest in the former Cy Young winner, Rosenthal notes some interesting connections to both clubs. Texas team physician Keith Meister performed a cleanup on Webb's shoulder in 2009, while Reds pitching coach Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard both worked with Webb in Arizona.
The Reds are not believed to be said mystery team but Stark says Cincinnati has been "quietly poking around for a starter with top-of-the-rotation potential." The Pirates haven't talked to Webb since late-November, and although the Brewers have scouted him, their level of interest seems low since the Zack Greinke trade. The Cardinals are known to be seeking starting pitching depth, and then there's the Astros. The now 31-year-old right-hander is expected to decide on a team soon.
More than 27% of over 15,000 MLBTR readers expect Webb to sign with Texas.
Here's the latest from the Queen City, courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay…
- With Arthur Rhodes set to join the Rangers, the Reds now have money to spend elsewhere, including on a shortstop, lefty hitting outfielder, and potentially a rehabbing starting pitcher.
- Assistant GM Bob Miller told Fay that the Reds have not had any recent conversations with Brandon Webb.
- Miller also confirmed that there have been no further talks with Johnny Cueto about a long-term extension. Earlier this month we heard that the two sides had some preliminary discussions about a contract.
- "That's not going to happen quick," said Miller when asked about an extension for NL MVP Joey Votto. The two sides have had some talks, however.
- Miller confirmed the team's interest in Scott Podsednik.
Yesterday we learned that the Rangers and Nationals are still showing strong interest in Brandon Webb, the Cubs' pursuit has slowed, and there is a mystery NL Central team expressing late interest. I wouldn't be surprised to see other teams in play as well. The latest:
- The Reds "haven't had any conversations about Webb recently, and thus are not the mystery team," tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Reds are the closest team to Webb's Kentucky home. Are the Astros, Pirates, or Cardinals the unknown team?
- The Brewers are not the NL Central mystery team, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel learned from GM Doug Melvin.
Brandon Webb is drawing serious interest from the Rangers and Nationals and the Cubs are in the mix, too. Best of all, there's a mystery team involved. Either the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Pirates or Astros also entered the bidding for Webb, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
The right-hander made just one start in the past two seasons because of shoulder troubles, but he was one of the league's top pitchers from 2006-08, when he posted a 3.13 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 while averaging 233 innings per season. Some team is going to get a high-risk, high-reward starter – which one will it be?
4:27pm: The Rangers and Nationals are still showing strong interest in Webb and a mystery NL Central team expressed late interest in the right-hander, but the Cubs’ pursuit has slowed, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. GM Jon Daniels, who is looking for a starter, has already spoken to Webb.
Webb's Ashland, Kentucky home is not far from Cincinnati, the Brewers could look to bolster their already revamped rotation and the Cardinals and Pirates seem like possible fits. It seems unlikely that the Astros are the mystery team, however.
2:11pm: The Rangers' interest in Webb has intensified, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson says there are plans for Webb to speak later today on the phone with Washington and Maddux.
8:54am: Webb is not in Texas and "other clubs are very much in play," a source tells MLBTR. Sullivan now has an update saying Ron Washington has not met with Webb. While the Rangers are in the mix, they have not met with the pitcher and have no plans to do so. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that Webb is not expected to decide on a team today.
8:50am: The Rangers and Brandon Webb "could be getting close to a deal," reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan hears Webb is in Texas and has met with Ron Washington and Mike Maddux. Webb's agent Jonathan Maurer is expected to have further conversations with the Rangers today "to try to hammer out a deal."
The Cubs appear to be the Rangers' main competition for Webb, but Sullivan expects a deal with Texas to get done.
The Cubs and Rangers have jumped ahead of the Nationals in the Brandon Webb sweepstakes, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Webb is already throwing and preparing like usual for spring, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. On Friday, we learned that Webb is likely to decide on a team soon.
About a month ago, Webb's agent Jonathan Maurer told MLBTR, "Brandon is hungry, excited, and ready to start 30 plus times in 2011." Webb is two years removed from the Majors due to shoulder issues.
Brandon Webb is likely to decide on his next team soon, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. Multiple teams are in the running to sign the right-hander, who has drawn steady interest this offseason. The Rangers have expressed interest, the Cubs were focused on Webb at one point and, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nationals maintain interest.
The Yankees, Reds and Brewers don't seem interested in Webb, who has missed almost all of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries. He underwent right shulder surgery in August of 2009 and spent most of this past season recovering from the operation.
Webb is drawing considerable interest after two lost seasons because he was one of the top pitchers in baseball from 2003-08. He didn't finish lower than second in the Cy Young Award voting from 2006-08, when he was selected to three consecutive All-Star teams. Webb, a ground ball pitcher, has posted 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 with a 3.27 ERA in his career.