Rangers Finalize Deal with Brandon Webb

From 2004-2008 Brandon Webb was a bona fide ace for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He made people forget trading Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees and gave them hope that Arizona was on the cusp of bringing another world championship to Phoenix.

With the addition of Dan Haren after the 2007 season where the Diamondbacks finished in the NLCS against the Colorado Rockies, Arizona was the favorite to go to World Series. A late season collapse was but a minor setback and everyone looked to 2009 for Arizona to return to the post season.

Those plans took a severe hit on Opening Day when Webb lasted only five innings and left the game with an arm injury. No one expected this to be the only game Webb would pitch in that season but in August he underwent shoulder surgery that ended his year. He watched as the Diamondbacks would finish last in the NL West.

In 2010 the Diamondbacks picked up Webb’s option with the hopes that he would be ready to pitch when the season started. After a series of set-backs Webb sat on the bench and watched his team finish last again. He never pitched in a game last season effectively meaning he had not thrown in two years at the major league level.

After the season ended Webb appeared in the Diamondbacks final Instructional League game at Chase Field. He threw two innings. During the first he looked fairly good but in the second inning he was hit hard by the Rockies.

I couldn’t help but wonder if I had seen the final pitch that Webb would throw in a Diamondbacks uniform. Afterwards Both Webb and General Manager Kevin Towers said all the right things about how they wanted to talk and perhaps bring Webb back to Arizona but no one really thought that possible.

Today the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers signed Webb to a one-year contract. He signed for a base salary of $3 million with another $5 million in incentives if Webb reaches specified milestones.

The Rangers perhaps know better than anyone the condition of Webb’s arm. It was their team physician Keith Meister who performed Webb’s surgery. Meister is confident that Webb will return to the dominating form that made him a Cy Young Award winner.

There is no telling how Webb will come back. His best years may be behind him or he may come back from this surgery and be even stronger than before the procedure. I hope for his sake it is the later.

Webb gave his heart and soul to the Diamondbacks and was a good ambassador both on and off the field and I wish him the best. And since he is signed for just one year who knows maybe he will be on the Diamondbacks radar next off-season.

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