Blog Entry

Report: Harden shut down again

Posted on: April 11, 2011 6:00 pm
By Matt Snyder

Stop me when this sounds familiar: Rich Harden has been shut down. He was scheduled to throw to hitters, but instead was unable to do so and the next step in his recovery from a strained lat muscle is reportedly unclear. (Susan Slusser via Twitter)

If you're able to completely disregard the large amount of money Harden's made in his career -- it's north of $20 million -- you can't help but feel sorry for the guy. Even his longest stretches of clean health are less than a full season. He made 31 starts in 2004, but since then has never made more than 26 and has made less than 15 twice. When he used to take the hill fully healthy he was among the best pitchers in baseball -- witness 2008, when he was 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 148 innings. But the past two seasons saw a drastic rise in ERA, hit rate and walk rate. In 2010, Harden also had his lowest strikeout rate ever. He's only 29, but it's possible his body is simply losing the ability to continue to heal back to what he once was.

As far as the A's go, do they even need him? It's only nine games, but the A's have a 2.47 ERA from starting pitchers thus far, which is the best mark in the majors. Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez have been brilliant. Brandon McCarthy has looked solid, especially for a No. 5. Dallas Braden has made just one start and didn't fare well, but his pedigree from the past two seasons suggests he'll be just fine over the long-haul.

If anything, maybe a healthy and effective Harden (which doesn't even sound natural to say anymore) could net some offensive help in a trade. Otherwise his value to the A's is very little.

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Category: MLB

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:23 pm

Report: Harden shut down again

Rich is a great guy off the field, but he just cannot stay healthy. I met him back in Oakland last year when the Rangers came down to play the A's. Got to talk to him for a while. Great guy. 

Since: Apr 10, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:54 am

Report: Harden shut down again

I agree...i would include Kerry Wood...

Since: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:40 am

Report: Harden shut down again

Harden and Prior...talent to be a stars but never healthy for more than one season...they are unlucky...according to me,i think they could have been dominant starting pitchers

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: April 11, 2011 8:59 pm

Report: Harden shut down again

Convert him into a fielder. I heard he was a great shortstop growing up....hence the fact that he can hit well for a pitcher. There is something about a pitcher's mound that's causing him to get injured all the time. Speaking of being injured all the time....maybe Eric Chavez should try his hand at pitching.
Harden never made a large amount of money in his career. $20 million is NOTHING! Now if he was paid a king's ransom like Mike Hampton or Darren Dreifort and was injured all the time then yeah it would be disheartening. 
Matt Snyder must be a recent hire because I have not read his articles before. Based on what I read today I should consider myself fortunate that I have not read more of his senseless drivel.
The A's already traded Rich Harden and what did they get in return? A bunch of low level prospects who are no longer with the organization except for one....Josh McDonald. Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and a few other guys are long gone.
The A's might be able to make a trade with the Angels. The Angels proved that desperate teams will do desperate things like taking on Vernon Wells' big contract especially when he is struggling/a shell of his once glorious self.
If Rich Harden is to have any trade value he has to prove that he can stay healthy for two to three months and go 12-2 with a 1.02 ERA with 198 K's. Barring that he will have absolutely no trade value whatsoever. 

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