Rangers still working on Matt Harrison extension

Harry How

The Rangers are still negotiating a possible contract extension with 2012 All-Star and Cy Young candidate Matt Harrison.

The Texas Rangers are still discussing an extension with left-handed starter Matt Harrison, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. Talk of an extension for the Rangers top starter were first reported in November and while they are on-going, nothing definitive has been reported as to the possible term or dollar value at this point.

The 27 year old was 18-11 last season for the Rangers with a 3.29 ERA. He was also named to the AL All-Star team for the first time and the eighth place finisher in the Cy Young Award voting. He is in his second arbitration-eligible year this off-season and he can become a free agent in 2015 if a deal is not reached before then. Last season he earned $2.95M and he should see a pay raise in arbitration this year.

Harrison led the Rangers with 213 innings pitched last year and his 3.29 ERA was the best of any starter on the club. However, he has a strikeout rate that is well below league average at 5.49 K/9 for his career. Since first coming up in 2010, he has improved his walk rate and ground ball rate each year, but neither one is among the best rates in the game. As a result, his advanced metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA are not as strong as his ERA.

Given his age, durability and his consistent improvement, Harrison compares well to another pitcher who consistently outperformed such stats in his early career- the Giants Matt Cain. Cain signed an extension for three years and $27.25M prior to his second arbitration year. That was three seasons ago, however, and the dollar value should be considerably more for Harrison now given deals like the one Anibal Sanchez signed this off-season.

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