Matt Harrison is now $55 million richer, and the Texas Rangers will have one of their best pitchers under a reasonable contract for the next five years. This contract is a perfect deal for both sides. Harrison is rewarded for his recent success with the Rangers, and the Rangers get to keep the 27-year-old ace under contract for the next five years at a team-friendly price.
Harrison’s contract will pay him $13 million combined for the next two seasons before it jumps to $13 million per year in each of the final three years. The Rangers avoid two years of arbitration and the first three years of free agency. The new contract could possibly save the Rangers tens of millions of dollars over the course of the next five years, as Harrison would have stood to make a lot of money in arbitration had he continued to have the type of success he was having.
However, Harrison also could have missed out on some big dollars if he had trouble staying healthy, an issue with him in the past (although he has stayed healthy over the past two years). Last year was Harrison’s best season as he won 18 games and posted a 3.29 ERA while being named to the All-Star team.
Harrison has been a workhorse the past two seasons, compiling 399 innings including a career-high 213.1 last year. The last two seasons have been the only two years that he has exceeded 100 innings in since he made his MLB debut so there is some concern heading into this season as to how is arm will handle the increased stress. However, Harrison declined an invite to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic so that he could rest and get ready for the season, a wise decision on his part.
The Rangers wrapping up Harrison for what is essentially below market value, especially for when he becomes a free agent in two years, is a win-win for both sides.