Welcome back, Rich Harden.
It’s almost like you never left.
The A’s and Rich Harden have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million pending a physical. Harden, 29, came up with the A’s organization, and last pitched for the team in 2008 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs, in a very questionable trade. In that deal, Oakland sent Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs in exchange for Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, Josh Donaldson, and Sean Gallagher. Murton, Patterson, and Gallagher are no longer with the A’s.
To me, the deal is low-risk for the A’s, who got Harden for cheap. The team, which shed Eric Chavez‘s $12.5 million salary this offseason, still have financial flexibility, and could still add a bat this winter. Ideally, the A’s should go after free agent 3B Adrian Beltre, who snubbed the A’s earlier this month for a second-year in a row. Beltre’s agent, Scott Boras, however, insists that the A’s remain on Beltre’s list of potential suitors.
The A’s still need some help on offense, but adding DH Hideki Matsui is a start. Granted he wasn’t the A’s first choice (Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, etc.), but at least the team is trying to upgrade an offense that mustered only 109 total home runs last season (28th in baseball).
Back to Harden, though. The A’s get the oft-injured, but talented righty for $1.5 million according to the SF Gate. Essentially, the A’s plan to have Harden to work out of the bullpen this season, unless of course he can win the No.5 spot in the A’s rotation this spring. Among potential No.5 starters for Oakland are Bobby Crammer, Tyson Ross, Josh Outman, newly signed Brandon McCarthy and Harden.
Harden has spent most of his major league career battling injuries, and while he struggled this year with the Rangers, going 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA, is getting a second-chance with Oakland. In his career, Harden is 55-34 with a 3.63 ERA. Harden adds more depth to an already stacked Oakland rotation and bullpen, and hopefully Harden stays healthy in his second-stint with Oakland.