From Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse comes word that the Rangers have reached agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Brandon Webb. The deal is only pending a physical.
The Reds, Yankees, Rangers, Cubs and Nationals all showed interest in the 31-year-old this winter, but he chose Texas in the end and should open the 2011 season as the club’s fourth or fifth starter.
Webb comes with plenty of risk. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in a major league game since the opening week of the 2009 season because of chronic shoulder issues and he did not display good velocity during a couple of late-season throwing sessions earlier this year. But the Rangers needed a body to fill the massive gap left by Cliff Lee’s departure and Webb was once regarded as a top tier National League starter.
In 2008, he finished with a 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 34 starts, fanning 183 batters over 226.2 frames. In 2007, he posted a 3.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 236.1 innings. In 2006, he won the National League Cy Young Award with a 3.10 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a 178/50 K/BB ratio across 33 starts.
If Webb can get anywhere near that kind of production down in Arlington, the loss of Lee might not sting so badly. Of course, it’s far from a guarantee that he will have enough stamina to last the entire season.
UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says the deal is for one year. As expected.