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.