Texas Rangers: What Brandon Webb could have been

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Brandon Webb #33 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 25, 2011 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Brandon Webb #33 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 25, 2011 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers love high-risk, high-reward deals and prospects.  Unfortunately, Brandon Webb ended up being a higher risk than reward.

After the Texas Rangers’ incredible 2010 World Series run, they had to re-establish an ace in their starting rotation.

Cliff Lee, acquired at the 2010 trade deadline, was set for free agency at the end of the season and ended up resigning with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Who was going to fill the top-of-the-rotation spot for the Texas Rangers for 2011?

Texas Rangers' pitcher Brandon Webb
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Rangers turned to former Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb, who was recovering from a 2009 shoulder surgery.

Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, they were bitten by the injury bug.

The Texas Rangers had hoped Webb would fully recover and slide into a solid rotation of C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter, but that never came to fruition.

Many around the game of baseball will claim that there is not a bad one-year deal, and for the most part, they are correct.

The one exception is when the player doesn’t see the field for your ballclub.

Webb signed a one-year deal worth $3 million with $5 million in incentives.

During spring training, then-manager Ron Washington thought Webb had looked good in his throwing program.

"“The ball was coming out of his hand really good. The arm strength is picking up.” -Ron Washington"

Spring training would eventually come to a close, and the Rangers would have to make a tough decision.

Do they carry Webb on the active roster or place him on the disabled list?

They did the latter, hoping to activate the right-hander early in the season.

Unfortunately for the Rangers and Webb, his MRI came back with bad new: changes in his rotator cuff.

He would get transferred to the 60-day D.L. and would not pitch again in his career.

Texas Rangers Brandon Webb
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

At the time of his rotator cuff injury, Webb was not putting up consistent numbers on the radar gun to be promoted to the Texas rotation.

He was sitting around 86 mph with his sinker, touching 88 mph on a good day.

The velocity was not the problem, though. It was his command.

Webb could have been a competitive pitcher with a high-80s sinker and good control, but he couldn’t consistently find the strike-zone in his rehab starts in Frisco.

Webb would be released in October 2011, and officially retire in February of 2013.

His agents released this statement on his behalf.

Had Webb gotten healthy, he could have helped push the Texas Rangers over the top during their second World Series run in 2011.

Could he have been the missing piece in the Rangers’ pursuit of a first World Series title?

Maybe, but we will never know.

Even though Brandon Webb could not get his career back on track after his initial shoulder surgery in 2009, he had a truly great career.

According to Baseball Reference, Webb’s career 31.1 WAR ranks third best all time in Diamondbacks history, behind only Randy Johnson and Paul Goldschmidt.

Over his six seasons in the big leagues, he was a three-time All Star and won the N.L. Cy Young award in 2006.

He won 18-games in 2007 and a career-high 22 wins in 2008.

Brandon Webb is the kind of player you invest in, even after such a severe injury.

If he had panned out, that could have been a nice second-half boost for the Texas Rangers, but ultimately it didn’t happen.

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