The Texas Rangers insured the heart of their rotation would be locked up longer than President Barack Obama will be in office.
Left-hander Matt Harrison became the third member of the rotation to earn a long-term contract when he and the Rangers signed a five-year deal worth $55 million on Jan. 17. The deal carries a club option that could be vested based on innings pitched, giving the Rangers potential control of Harrison through 2018.
Harrison receives a $1 million signing bonus and $5 million for 2013. He will be paid $8 million in 2014 and then $13 million annually from 2015 to 2017. The option is worth $13.25 million, but could grow to $15.75 million based on innings pitched. If the option is not picked up, Harrison receives a $2 million buyout.
Harrison, 27, joins right-hander Yu Darvish, who is signed through 2017, and LHP Derek Holland, who signed through 2016 with club options for 2017 and 2018. In addition, RHP Alexi Ogando is not arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and thus not eligible for free agency until after 2016.
Over the last two seasons, Harrison is 32-20 with a 3.34 ERA in 399 innings. Including postseason play, he has pitched 417 innings over the last two seasons, the 21st highest total in the majors.
In addition, his 3.85 Fielding-Independent Pitching (FIP) -- which tries to measure aspects of a game in which a pitcher has total control of his outcome, such as walks, strikeouts and home runs -- was the best among Rangers starters and 15th among 44 AL qualifiers.