Matt Harrison Rumors
THURSDAY: The Rangers announced they've agreed to sign Harrison to a five-year extension that includes an option for 2018. The club will hold a press conference at Rangers Ballpark today to announce the deal.
WEDNESDAY: The Rangers have agreed to a five-year, $55MM extension with Matt Harrison after the left-hander passed a physical, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (Twitter links). The contract contains an team option for a sixth year in 2018 that can become a vesting option if Harrison reaches certain innings plateaus, Wilson adds. Harrison, 27, is represented by the ACES agency.
Harrison will receive a $1MM signing bonus and the rest of his contract breaks down as follows, according to Wilson. The southpaw will earn $5MM in 2013, $8MM in 2014 and then $13MM in each of the following three seasons. The 2018 option is worth $13.25MM (with a $2MM buyout) but could be worth as much as $15.75MM. That option will vest if Harrison pitches at least 200 innings in each of the 2015-17 seasons.
The two sides were known to be exploring a multiyear deal earlier this offseason. The deal covers Harrison's final two years of arbitration eligibility and his first three free agent years. I noted back in November that Chad Billingsley's three-year, $35MM extension with the Dodgers was a decent comparable for a possible Harrison extension and in fact this new contract will pay Harrison an average annual value of just under Billingsley's AAV.
This extension could end up being very team-friendly if Harrison continues his development as a front-of-the-rotation starter. Harrison has a 3.34 ERA with a 2.28 K/BB ratio and 5.8 K/9 rate over 399 innings in 2011-12 and showed a talent for keeping the ball on the ground at Rangers Ballpark, with a 49% groundball rate in 2012 and a 47.5% GBR in 2011.
Texas GM Jon Daniels has been quick to lock up key members of his roster, as Harrison joining Derek Holland, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz as Rangers who have signed extensions within the last 12 months. As Wilson points out, the Rangers now have four young starting pitchers (Harrison, Holland, Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando, the oldest of the group at age 29) who are controlled through at least the 2016 season.
The Rangers remain in the market for pitching, but FOXSportsSouthwest.com's Anthony Andro reports the team will bring Robbie Ross to camp as a starter if they don't make any more additions this winter. Texas currently has Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Alexi Ogando slated for the rotation with Colby Lewis due to return at midseason.
Here's the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday...
- "There are still some players that in the right scenario that could be fits for us ... There is a reasonable chance that we could add somebody from outside," said Rangers GM Jon Daniels to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, though he also said it could just be a player on a minor league contract. Ownership is willing to add payroll "within reason."
- "We're definitely still talking ... We'll see where that goes," said Harrison to Andro. The southpaw and the Rangers were reportedly discussing an extension earlier this offseason.
- Manny Corpas will earn $800K in the big leagues as part of his minor league deal with the Rockies, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The right-hander will earn $14K per month in the minors.
- Ken Davidoff of The New York Post spoke to Braves president (and former GM) John Schuerholz about his team, including the performance of the front office staff.
- Zack Meisel of MLB.com wrote about under-the-radar bargains, something every team tries to find throughout the offseason. Low-risk deals are commonplace in the weeks leading up to Spring Training.
- In an Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Jim Bowden listed the best fit for unsigned big-name free agents like Michael Bourn, Rafael Soriano, and Kyle Lohse.
The Rangers have begun "preliminary negotiations" with Matt Harrison's representatives about a contract extension, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Texas GM Jon Daniels said earlier this month that the left-hander was among the extension candidates on the Rangers roster.
"We've touched base with all the guys we want to extend," Daniels said. "Harry's one of them. He's earned that conversation."
Harrison has developed into one of the cornerstones of the Texas rotation after back-to-back quality seasons, posting career-bests in ERA (3.29), K/BB ratio (2.25), groundball rate (49%) and innings pitched (213 1/3) in 2012. The ACES client's strong campaign will earn him a nice raise in his second trip though the arbitration process; MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Harrison will earn a $6.1MM contract, most than double Harrison's $2.95MM salary from 2012.
A Harrison extension would be more expensive than the five-year, $28.5MM deal the Rangers gave to another young left-hander, Derek Holland, last March. Holland was 25 years and still a year away from arbitration when he signed his extension, whereas Harrison turned 27 in September and is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Chad Billingsley's three-year, $35MM extension with the Dodgers before the 2011 season is a decent comparable for Harrison, though Billingsley had thrown over 200 more innings at the time of his multiyear deal than Harrison has at this point in his career. It seems likely that Daniels will look for at least one option year, as he did in recent extensions for other Texas pitchers such as Holland and Scott Feldman.
The Rangers usually don't finalize contract extensions until the spring, as Wilson notes, so Harrison could settle his 2013 contract first before he and the team look to the multiyear contract. Wilson also speculates that Alexi Ogando and Elvis Andrus could be extension candidates for Texas this winter, which could make it two extensions in as many offseasons for Andrus, who is locked up through 2014.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The baseball world figures to remain relatively quietly until after the New Year, but as Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes, there is still a lot of work to be done before the season begins. Let's round up Morosi's rumors...
- The Blue Jays are saying they will not give a hitter a contract of more than five guaranteed years, though they'll likely have to violate that policy if they want to sign Prince Fielder.
- The Brewers, Cubs, Nationals, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Rays, and Pirates are all considering non-Fielder upgrades at first base. Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, and Derrek Lee remain unsigned, among others.
- Some within the game believe that Joakim Soria and Carlos Marmol could be had at the right price. The Cubbies are said to be planning a "complete and total rebuild."
- Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain available, and the Rangers may be willing to trade Matt Harrison for a more established starter.
- Most believe Yoenis Cespedes will sign for more than the $30.25MM Aroldis Chapman received because as a position player, he carried less risk. A larger number of interested teams and the new collective bargaining agreement will also help his cause.
Let's see what Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has for us in his latest Full Count video..
- If the Marlins do not start playing more consistently, manager Fredi Gonzalez will be on the hot seat. Florida is one win below .500, which probably does not strike most as a failure considering their modest $47.4MM. However, as Rosenthal put it, owner Jeffrey Loria is not exactly "Mr. Patient". At the start of Spring Training, Loria said that the team had all the ammunition needed to make the postseason.
- Roy Oswalt could be the best starter available at the deadline, depending on three factors. The team must be willing to move him, the 32-year-old must be willing to waive his no-trade clause, and a team must be willing to take on the rest of his contract. Oswalt will only approve deals to certain clubs and two of them, the Braves and Cardinals, are already flush with starting pitching. Money will be a major factor, as he is set to earn $15MM this season and $16MM in both 2011 and 2012. The final year of the deal holds a $2MM buyout.
- Rangers pitchers Matt Harrison and Rich Harden are effectively on notice. Tommy Hunter is set to begin a rehabilitation assignment and Derek Holland has been stellar thus far in Triple-A. There are even more arms waiting in the farm system, including Tanner Scheppers, the 44th overall selection in the 2009 draft.
It's hard to gauge what the Texas Rangers will look to do this offseason. There are reports that they are interested in acquiring outfielder Milton Bradley from the Cubs, who would likely eat a large chunk of the $21MM owed to him over the next two years of his contract. At the same time, they may not have the cash necessary to retain Marlon Byrd, who has posted .283/.328/.483 with a career-high 20 HRs. Buster Olney and the Baseball Prospectus staff break down the season that was for the Rangers and what they can expect going forward. An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are the nuts and bolts of it:
- Signing John Lackey, widely regarded as this offseason's top free agent starter, would certainly bolster their rotation. However, Buster Olney says that GM Jon Daniels could be handcuffed financially by the impending change in ownership.
- Olney also theorizes that Daniels may not be able to roll the dice on the problematic Bradley, for fear of a public relations backlash under a new regime.
- The ownership situation is murkier than most, as anywhere between four and six groups are in contention to purchase the club. One group is led by team president Nolan Ryan, whose involvement is largely considered productive.
- The aforementioned Byrd earned $3MM in 2009, the final year of his contract. Re-signing him might require a two or three-year commitment at triple the price.
- Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus says that the Rangers have a good amount of pitching talent, but feels that they must live up to their potential. Rookies Derek Holland (ERAs of 5.77 in August and 10.20 in September) and Neftali Feliz have run out of gas down the stretch, but have shown tons of upside. If the Rangers feel confident in Matt Harrison and oft-injured Brandon McCarthy, they might not have to spend on a high-priced arm this winter to complement Kevin Millwood.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Rangers have signed 16 players to 2009 contracts. These players include Scott Feldman and Matt Harrison, who are both expected to make the Rangers starting rotation.
Position players include catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and right fielder Nelson Cruz.
Here's a list of the others:
- Pitchers - Josh Rupe, John Bannister, Tommy Hunter, Luis Mendoza, Dustin Nippert, Omar Proveda, Kason Gabbard
- Position Players - Joaquin Arias, Jose Vallejo, Brandon Boggs, David Murphy, and Greg Golson
The Rangers have yet to sign Josh Hamilton, Taylor Teagarden, and nine others.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the deal is finally done, pending a review of medical records. The Braves will receive Mark Teixeira and lefty reliever Ron Mahay, while the Rangers will get Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, and two pitching prospects. Matt Harrison is said to be one of them; his MRI today came up clean.
I'll have some analysis of the deal once we have all the details. Kind of makes tomorrow anticlimactic, doesn't it?
UPDATE: Sent Bowman an email about Harrison - it was definitely supposed to be his left (pitching) shoulder. The MLB.com article has been updated.
22 year-old Double A southpaw Matt Harrison might be the Braves' top pitching prospect, and he was part of the team's offer for Mark Teixeira. However, Harrison is having shoulder problems and has apparently been removed from the deal. Ken Rosenthal does not indicate which shoulder, while MLB.com's Mark Bowman repeatedly says it's his right shoulder. Harrison is to see a doctor on Monday.
Furthermore, one source of Bowman's thinks Harrison is still in the Braves' offer along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Elvis Andrus. Another source of Bowman's believes the injury isn't a dealbreaker.
Rosenthal, however, says the Braves gave Texas a list of pitchers to choose instead of Harrison, not including Jo-Jo Reyes. Rosenthal adds that talks are fluid and it could become a 4 for 2 deal. That might convince the Braves to part with Reyes.
Salty was the only position player not used in today's 14-0 blowout; Brian McCann did not get relief. That decision certainly seems related to an impending trade.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks inquired on Teixeira and were told it would take Conor Jackson, Carlos Gonzalez, and a pitching prospect. The Dodgers have been slipping while Arizona has been playing well, and the result is a virtual tie for first place. It would be interesting if the Diamondbacks jump in and become aggressive buyers.