Brandon Webb doesn’t have a super-sized contract — at least not yet — nor does he have a super-sized ego.

Arizona’s ace right-hander — the pride of Ashland — does have the credentials to be the best pitcher in baseball. On Sunday, he helped the Diamondbacks snap a four-game skid with six innings of work in a 6-1 victory over the Braves. The last game Arizona won before Sunday? That was Webb, too.

Last week Arizona rewarded right-hander Dan Haren with a contract extension. The move was most certainly a good one. Lock up a good pitcher when you can and Haren rates as a darn good one.

But Webb, who has next year and an option year in 2010 on his current contract, is the ace of the staff. And for whatever reason, Arizona’s front office seems reserved about signing him to a long-term deal. What in the name of Cy Young are they afraid of?

Take a look at the intangibles:

—Durability. Webb is on track for his fourth consecutive 200-plus innings season. Every fifth day, the guy takes the baseball and goes to the mound — and most of the time produces a winning effort. Period.

—Consistency. Fifty-one victories since 2006 is the best total for any pitcher — Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy et al. His past four years’ win totals: 14, 16, 18 and 17 (with August and September still to go).

—Role model. Webb is the face of the franchise. About the only thing that would make him more wholesome is a milk moustache. His K Foundation in Phoenix touches the community’s underprivileged children.

After hearing fans call him “greedy” on talk radio the day Haren signed his deal, Webb bristled. He told reporters it was Arizona’s front office who took their latest contract offer off the table. Webb told the media he is happy living and playing in Arizona.

Life in the dessert suits him fine.

Life in New York, or some other high-profile baseball destination, could suit him fine in a couple of years.

If the Diamondbacks don’t sign Webb and the free agent bidding begins, the price will be steep for a pitcher who may well have two Cy Young Awards on his mantle. Santana signed a six-year, $137 million deal with the Mets. Sabathia may need to back up a Brinks truck to Yankee Stadium over the winter. Webb, statistically speaking, will be in line for that kind of deal, too.

Arizona’s window of signing opportunity has to be closing. The D-Backs should act now before it’s too late and lock up their ace for the long haul.

Haren, who has had a dandy season, has been played up as a Cy Young candidate even more than Webb by the Arizona media. Truth be told, there are two Cy Young candidates on the D-Back roster.

Meanwhile, all Webb does is win. That was No. 17 on Sunday — most in the majors — to go along with a nifty 2.88 earned run average. He has a 1.17 ERA over his last 23 innings. Twenty wins, the pitching yardstick for a great season, seem well within reach if not a certainty with potentially nine starts remaining. Webb could even surpass Randy Johnson’s club-record 24 victories in 2002 with a little luck.

If those numbers don’t get your attention, I don’t know what does. Surely Arizona’s front office is paying attention.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at or (606) 326-2648.

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