As Colby Lewis was trudging through this season in a way only Lewis can do — grinding through with a tough demeanor and rock-solid reliability — the Texas Rangers were unfortunately faced with the inevitability that they would most likely be losing him to free agency over the winter.
Lewis, 33, was pitching perhaps his best season in the majors through 16 starts before he required season-ending elbow surgery after making his final start of the season on July 18. He had compiled a 3.43 ERA through 16 starts and had a 6-6 record with a few hard-luck losses.
But Lewis was most likely going to see a big payday over the winter, thanks in large part to his postseason performance for the Rangers over the past two seasons. Lewis has shown to be the most reliable postseason pitcher on the Rangers' roster as he's thrown up a 4-1 record with a 2.34 ERA in his eight playoff starts. That alone was going to get him more than the Rangers were willing to pay him, most likely.
Until he got hurt.
The recovery time for Lewis' surgery is 9-12 months, which would likely put him back somewhere between the start of the season and the all-star break in 2013, probably closer to the latter. That allowed the Rangers to give Lewis an extension on Monday for one more year to allow Lewis to return and possibly build his value back up heading into the winter of 2013.
With Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland guaranteed rotation spots next season, and the club having the option to try to re-sign Ryan Dempster and insert Martin Perez into the rotation, not to mention what the future holds for Neftali Feliz, there is a possibly crowded group of talented pitchers, but Lewis would most certainly fit in somewhere when he's ready to return.
Are the Rangers expecting to see the normal Colby Lewis as soon as he returns, whenever that is? Probably not. But taking a cheap flier on a proven commodity is certainly not a bad idea.