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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rangers Acquire Free Agent Rich Harden

Per Craig Calcaterra's Twitter feed, and yes, I feel terribly unclean linking to that. $7.5M, with net of up to $11M in bonuses, for one year.

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Nice move for the Rangers. I was really hoping the Halos would've taken a similar flier on Harden. He's started at least 25 games each of the past two seasons, and the Angels have the back-of-the-rotation filler to plug the gaps should he have to go on the DL for a few weeks here or there.
You think so? I have a feeling his already fragile arm, which hasn't stayed healthy now for both Oakland and Chicago (NL) is headed to the Land Where Pitchers Turn To Shredded Mozzarella. The Rangers have shown no ability to recover injury-prone hurlers to their prior forms (when was the last time you heard of one?).
I think there will always be concerns about his fragile arm, and I think it's very likely that he will spend anywhere from 1-3 months on the DL. But, then, he might not. Outside of one month last year, he largely survived the season. And he's put up K9 and K/BB rates over the past two years that are just silly.

He's 28, and oft-injured, but he's stayed on the field more than not of late, and when he's on the field, his FIP stats are just nutso. Yeah, I think he's a good bet to take.
Consider this Lookout Landing analysis of Harden vs Lackey. I have to agree with all points. This is particularly sobering:

As mentioned, Harden made the exact same amount of starts (51) the past two seasons as Lackey did. Harden did throw noticeably fewer innings in that span, 290 to Lackey's 340, mainly as a result of a difference in approach. Lackey averaged 3.64 pitches per plate appearance the last two seasons, Harden was at 4.11. Strikeouts generally take more pitches to complete so it should come as little surprise to see the difference there. The important thing is note is that Lackey threw a total of 228 more pitches than Harden over 2008-9, the equivalent of one extra start per season.

So why is Lackey the more attractive option exactly?
Fifty innings pitched.
I don't follow you. 51 starts, not innings pitched.
Harden did throw noticeably fewer innings in that span, 290 to Lackey's 340

50 innings.

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