ARLINGTON, Texas — Colby Lewis has meant too much to the Texas Rangers throughout their rise to the top of the American League pecking order to leave him with any uncertainty about his future.
They took care of that Monday by signing him to a contract extension through 2013 with $2 million guaranteed and Lewis eligible to earn another $4 million in incentives. Lewis, who was in the final year of a two-year deal, would have been a free agent after the season.
It’s a risk the club felt was worth taking despite the fact that Lewis, 33, won’t be able to pitch for part of 2013 after having surgery to repair his right flexor tendon in July.
That turned out to be a minor detail given that Lewis is the best postseason pitcher the club has had (4-1, 2.34 ERA in the postseason), is a proven winner (20-16 over the past two seasons) and is a stabilizing force for the pitching staff even though he hasn’t pitched since July.
“Colby is what we’re about,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “You’ve seen some of the situations he’s stepped into and taken the ball and led by example. Above all, he’s been productive. At the end of the day, there are a lot of great people out there with big hearts and what not. Colby puts that together with the talent and know how to go out there and attack and win ballgames.”
Daniels and assistant general manager Thad Levine recently talked about how Lewis was feeling about being unable to help during the stretch run. They decided they needed to do right by Lewis, and from there it didn’t take long to get a deal done.
Lewis was caught by surprise by the deal but is happy to get it done. The organization didn’t want him to worry about where his future was, and Levine said he was an essential part of the franchise and deserved to be a part of the season.
That was good news for Lewis.
“This is definitely where I wanted to be,” said Lewis, who was the club’s Opening Day starter. “I just didn’t know when it was going to come about or if there was going to be any thought behind it or if I was just going to shake hands and thank them for my opportunity here and move on. . . . I didn’t think about it after I got hurt.”
Another benefit of getting the deal done early is that Lewis will get to work with the same medical staff that has worked with him since he had the surgery July 27. He also doesn’t think he’ll have to push his rehab process now.
Lewis could start doing some forearm exercises soon and hopes to be throwing a ball in January.
He’ll do so knowing he’s pitching for the organization he wanted to be with.
“This is home,” he said. “This is where I want to be. When the offer came about, it was real easy to get the job done. This is where I feel like I’m most comfortable. When I take the ball every five days, it’s easy to do when you have the group of guys and the front-office group that allows you to do that.”