While the D'backs rotation for 2006 and beyond remains largely uncertain, the one piece of the jigsaw that's assured was firmly locked in place today, with the signing of Brandon Webb to a 4-year, $19.5m contract extension. He gets $2.5 million this year, $4.5 million in 2007, $5.5 million in 2008 and $6.5 million in 2009 - there's a club option of $8.5 million in 2010, or a $500,000 buyout.
It's slightly eyebrow-raising, because we had control of Webb through 2009 anyway, thanks to arbitration. But according to Josh Byrnes, "This is the type of contract a club doesn't have to do...it is something we wanted to do." The Banana reports Byrnes believes "it's important to get long-term deals in place for a team's core players to give them security and the team some cost certainty. "It really helps accelerate the decision-making process and the building process," Byrnes said."
Interestingly - if perhaps irrelevantly - the buyout goes up by $500K, every time Webb finishes in the top 5 of Cy Young candidates during the first four years. I say "irrelevantly", because the last thing we're going to do with any Cy Young candidate is pay a million or so to let him walk away: I don't know what kind of pitching $8.5m will get you in 2010, but I doubt it'll be very much.
It's a comforting, sensible move, and it'd take a precipitous, sustained falloff for Webb not to be worth the money. Better still, it means Russ Ortiz is not the extent of long-term thinking with regard to our rotation. It might even be worth buying a shirt with Brandon's name on it; that's something I've not done for any Diamondbacks since shortly before Kim was traded...
We also locked in Luis Viscaino, avoiding arbitration with him - the terms have not yet been formally revealed, but word is, it's around $1.8m for one year. Looks like he's guaranteed a spot in the bullpen next year: Valverde; Medders; now, Viscaino. That's slowly taking shape too.