10:19pm: The team would expect to recover a “significant portion” of Harrison’s $13MM annual salary over 2015-17 in the unfortunate event that he cannot throw due to the injury, Grant adds in an update to his post.
7:51pm: Should Perez try to avoid a TJ procedure, he would sit out for ten to twelve weeks while rehabbing, per an updated report from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Of course, that strategy comes with the risk of delaying his recovery time by that period if he ultimately goes under the knife.
The prospects for Harrison, should he elect surgery, seem fairly grim. “There just aren’t a lot of guys who have had it and come back successfully,” said GM Jon Daniels. “I’m hoping that while the odds might not be good he will be the exception.” Grant does note that an insurance policy on Harrison paid out $2.5MM last year and could afford the club coverage of $6MM of the $8MM salary owed for 2014. The report does not indicate how the policy impacts the future years of the deal.
In terms of dealing with the injuries, Daniels said that the team is going to stick with internal options for the time being. “We will look to ride it out,” he said. “We might consider the trade market at some point, but right now, we’ll look to ride it out.”
6:02pm: Two key Rangers starters — lefties Martin Perez and Matt Harrison — have significant injuries that could result in long DL stints, reports Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (Twitter links).
Perez, 23, has a partial UCL tear in his left elbow. While he is weighing the possibility of resting and pitching through the injury, a Tommy John procedure is on the table.
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Harrison has another serious back issue (called spondylolisthesis) that could require a form of spinal fusion surgery. He, too, could potentially try to throw without surgery. However, if it becomes necessary, the procedure could potentially be career-threatening, according to a tweet from Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
The pair of hurlers had been expected to be key rotation pieces in Texas for the long haul. Perez was signed this November to a four-year, $12.5MM extension, which includes club options for 2018 through 2020. Harrison inked his own, even larger deal before the 2013 season. The extension, which covers the 2013 through 2017 campaigns and comes with a club option, guarantees him $55MM.
Needless to say, even if both Perez and Harrison see enough to gain in attempting to avoid surgery, the news clouds the outlook this year for a club that has already been hit hard by injuries. With fellow long-term commit Derek Holland still working back from his own serious knee injury, there are plenty of questions in the staff outside of ace Yu Darvish. While the rotation has fared reasonably well by measure of fWAR to date, it ranks fourth from the bottom in the league in terms of earned run average. Sitting at .500, Texas now seems an obvious potential pitching buyer over the summer — if, that is, the team can stay within striking distance.
Of course, the downside scenarios — a one-year plus recovery for Perez, and an uncertain rehabilitation process for Harrison — could have major implications for the franchise’s trajectory. Texas has committed significant future payroll (through extensions, free agency, and trades), and certainly is built to win in the immediate future. Lacking surefire pitching prospects who appear ready to step into the MLB rotation, Texas could face some tough decision-making if Perez and Harrison are gone for extended periods of time.