ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison is getting at least one reward for his outstanding 2012 season. He will be honored on Friday night as the Rangers Pitcher of the Year at the club's annual awards show at the Arlington Convention Center. "It's very humbling for many reasons," Harrison said. "Being where I was a few years ago, not knowing if I had a place on the team, struggling with adversity, reading negative things about you. But it made me a stronger person and more motivated." The awards will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Convention Center. But Pitcher of the Year is just the first reward that Harrison may receive this offseason. A multiyear contract might also be in the works.
Harrison is eligible for arbitration and won't be a free agent until after the 2014 season. But the Rangers have also broached the possibility of a multiyear contract with his agent earlier this winter. "It's kind of like preliminary stuff; nothing has become serious yet," Harrison said Monday night from his offseason home in North Carolina. "That's something that will be good to get done before Spring Training. With the holidays and free agency, there hasn't been much said about it. "The main thing as long as my family is happy and taken care of, if something like that happens, I'd be up for it. It would be a place to call home for the next four or five years. I like the guys I play with and I like Texas. It will be a good thing." It may be something that happens in Spring Training. The Rangers signed Derek Holland to a five-year, $28.5 million contract last spring. Harrison settled for a one-year deal worth $2.95 million while avoiding an arbitration hearing with no serious discussions about a long-term deal. Harrison responded by going 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA and being named to the American League All-Star team. Holland, after winning 16 games in 2011, was 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA while missing time on the disabled list with a stomach virus. Holland said earlier this offseason that he is using Harrison as a role model to get better as a pitcher. Harrison, who likes to seclude himself with his family away from baseball during the offseason, said he hasn't had a chance to speak with Holland about that yet. "That would be something to talk about in Spring Training," Harrison said. "I don't get into that stuff in the offseason. But he has the stuff to be a good pitcher for a long time. It's just a matter of him figuring out some of the same things I did, like avoiding the big inning. Don't let that get out of hand. I was able to stay away from that last year. He'll figure it out too." That's something Harrison is still working on in an offseason workout regimen that is just getting started. He has begun throwing off flat ground and expects to get on the mound soon in preparation for pitchers and catchers reporting on Feb. 12. "I want to stick to the same routine I had last offseason," Harrison said. "I'll get more into it once I get off the mound. I want to work on my sequence of pitches when I get off the mound. I'm thinking back on games that were rough and work through some of the tougher situations and continue that through Spring Training. See if I can catch some things before it gets out of proportion." Harrison remains motivated. He finished the 2010 season as a little-used reliever and was not on the postseason roster. He was the Rangers' fourth starter during their 2011 run to the World Series. He emerged along with Yu Darvish as one of their top two starters in 2012, but did not get a chance to pitch in the playoffs because the Rangers were knocked out in the one-game Wild Card round against the Orioles. The Rangers have high expectations for Harrison in 2013. Their interest in exploring a long-term contract with him only reinforces their confidence in their Pitcher of the Year.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.