A couple of years ago, there was no way anyone would believe left-handed starter Matt Harrison would get a contract extension at all, let alone this big. Things can change in a hurry, though, and a pair of formidable seasons from Harrison netted him a nice five-year, $55 million extension complete with an option for 2018. So far there haven’t been any additional details to the contract released. You know, things like no-trade clauses and special excerpts than enable him to bring his pet chihuahua with him to the mound once a month.
Harrison, who will turn 28 in September, began his ascent to solidity in 2011. That year Harrison posted a 3.39 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and struck out more than twice the batters he walked in 185 2/3 IP. He followed his first good season up with a second in 2012, logging a career high 213 1/3 IP and keeping all of his peripherals right around where they were the year before. Harrison isn’t a star pitcher, and he never will be. He’s a very solid mid-rotation guy who limits his free passes and and fails to miss many bats. He isn’t flashy, but he’s begun to show that his brand of pitching is one that can work in the deadly confines of Arlington, a land where many pitchers are forced to flee crying for mercy.
I don’t mind this deal for the Rangers. A second very good season for Harrison cements him as much more than just a flash in the pan, and I think he’s a reasonably good bet to keep eating innings and putting up respectable numbers through age 33. The Rangers haven’t been able to land any big name free agents or even retain Josh Hamilton, but they’re taking care of their future rosters by refusing to deal top-notch minor league talent and agreeing to extensions like this one to keep talented players around. Harrison shouldn’t have a huge problem earning his keep for the life of his new contract.