Matt Harrison’s Fate May Depend on a Signature

by Todd K | Posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011

Matt Harrison - 2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals     By Todd Kaufmann

    Sr Columnist

    toddmkaufmann@att.net

 

In just a few short weeks, January 18th will roll around and the news of a contract agreement may be released. The agreement on a contract between the Texas Rangers and 25-year old Japanese right hander Yu Darvish.

While Darvish won’t need to seal the contract in blood, there is one thing that may be sealed when he signs on the dotted line–the future of left hander Matt Harrison.

Assuming the Rangers are able to come to an agreement with Darvish, and most believe that day will come, the rotation already has a full five members with Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland, and Colby Lewis rounding out the other four spots. That means right hander Scott Feldman, as well as Harrison, are on the outside looking in.

Feldman provided spot starts as well as long relief out of the bullpen and impressed not only the Rangers’ brass but also the fans who thought he had long past his ability to be affective. After his performance towards the end of the 2011 season, as well as giving the Rangers a lift during the playoffs, they are less likely to trade him. Not only because he’s a veteran starter who can provide a spot start from time to time but also he has very little trade value left.

That leaves just one person, Harrison.

There have been conversations on multiple social media sites about the possibility of trading the left hander, most are against the idea. However, if the Rangers know they can use him as a trade piece without having to give up one of their top minor league arms, they are going to do exactly that especially for a guy they want to bring in.

Trading Harrison is in no way an indictment on what kind of a pitcher he’s been with the Rangers since they brought him up back in 2008.

In his four seasons with Texas, Harrison sports a 30-19 combined record and a 4.49 career earned run average. He put in more work this past season than he had any any of the previous three before it. He finished with career highs in wins (14), innings pitched (185.2), and a career best ERA (3.39).

Harrison is an attractive piece to other teams still in need of a starter and especially those who don’t see much attraction to what’s left on the free agent market. With Texas having three starters with little to no experience in the role, at least in Major League Baseball, the Rangers may look to bring in another proven starter if for no other reason than having a little insurance.

There’s no guarantee Texas ends up trading the left hander and there’s nothing to say they would even consider trading him at all. But he’s still an attractive piece and, being almost unwilling to trade any of their top minor league talent, Harrison may be the one guy that starts the kind of trade general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan like to make happen.

Don’t look for a deal to take place in the next two weeks, because they want to make sure they get the Yu Darvish contract locked up before they focus on anything else.

Once January 18th rolls around, the focus will quickly shift to the remaining moves this front office still wants to make.

All is quiet in Arlington, but for how long?

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