• Rich Harden

    Posted by on November 16th, 2009 · Comments (35)

    Many Yankees fans feel that New York should make a run at acquiring Rich Harden this off-season. Below are Harden’s statistics to date:


    Good stuff – no question there. His relative stats prove this out. But, boy, is he not a horse…

    Basically, if you’re lucky, he’s good for 150 innings a season. Is that someone who you really want to count on?

    Comments on Rich Harden

    1. clintfsu813
      November 16th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      Is that someone who you really want to count on?

      Well..depends on how we view him. If we’re signing him at low cost with the assumption he’ll only give us 150 IP and pitch him in the 5 spot..not sure we have to “Count on Him” the way we count on CC, AJ, Andy.

    2. Scout
      November 16th, 2009 | 12:02 pm

      Of course you cannot count on him. He’s back-of-the-rotation material, useful if Hughes or Chamberlain falters or has to be moved to the bulpen, and brittle. Signing him makes sense as a stop-gap, an insurance policy, assuming the price is modest. Better Harden than Mitre.

      If you want the sure bet, you have to pay for it — or, rather, him, as in John Lackey.

    3. cr1
      November 16th, 2009 | 12:22 pm

      I say again, the predictable melt-downs of the too-young (all our kids), too-old (Andy) and too-crazy (AJ) mean we’re going to need a durable innings-eater in the rotation to save the bp for their pitching days — not another unreliable guy to eat further into the bp.

    4. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 12:38 pm

      cr1 wrote:

      not another unreliable guy to eat further into the bp.

      It can be done, resources have to be delpoyed properly. There is no reason why relievers cannot be shuttled back and forth between SWB & NY. Even when Hughes and Kennedy bombed in 08, the Yanks were able to find innings. A lot can happen during the course of a season

      Not saying the Yanks should or shouldn’t go after Harden, just saying that it can be done

    5. Corey
      November 16th, 2009 | 1:02 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Even when Hughes and Kennedy bombed in 08, the Yanks were able to find innings. A lot can happen during the course of a season

      Agreed. That being said, I’d MUCH rather go after Harden then go after Lackey. I really don’t like Lackey…We have enough big money long term free agent starting pitchers, and if we were to add another I’d like to see a pitcher of greater stature taking that spot than Lackey.

      I could live with a rotation of : Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Harden/Hughes (Hughes once Harden is injured). Start the season with Hughes in the pen, stretch him out in the minors mid year, and insert into the weak spot of the rotation. That way Hughes stays by near his innings limit. You have IPK stashed away at AAA for when we need a spot start, keep Gaudin around as the long man (if he’ll accept the role), and rock and roll.

      This all, to me, depends on what kind of contract Harden would demand. Any rumors on years/money?

      Heck, I’d be willing to explore what kind of SP a Hughes/Austin Jackson pair could fetch ya on the trade market.

    6. November 16th, 2009 | 1:05 pm

      Corey returns!

    7. November 16th, 2009 | 1:11 pm

      Here’s the rub – if you want Rich Harden to be your 5th guy and you know he’s only good for 20 starts and 150 IP, then you’re looking at someone like Sergio Mitre or Dan Giese or Sidney Ponson for another 10 starts and 50 IP when Harden is MIA. (And, Cashman has already shown his willingness to fill in that 5th slot, in case of injury, with crap like Mitre or Ponson.)

      So, why not go with Jon Garland for your 5th slot where you know he’s a lock for 30 GS and 200 IP? It saves having to give a 40-man roster spot to a Mitre-type back-up SP. And, with the Yankees offense, a league average pitcher like Garland, facing the other team’s 5th SP most times, will win at least half of his starts.

    8. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 1:18 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Corey returns!

      FWIW, he has been somewhat active on FB… He may have been on vacation, or soaking in the WS Victory :D

    9. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 1:23 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      So, why not go with Jon Garland for your 5th slot where you know he’s a lock for 30 GS and 200 IP? It saves having to give a 40-man roster spot to a Mitre-type back-up SP. And, with the Yankees offense, a league average pitcher like Garland, facing the other team’s 5th SP most times, will win at least half of his starts.

      I guess it depends on if Harden + Mitre/Ponson > Garland. Given the nature of 5th starters, if Garland were to sign on as the 5th starter, I don’t see him doing 30/200.

    10. #15
      November 16th, 2009 | 1:32 pm

      CR1 is on the mark here. Would I prefer Doc? Yep. Maybe that happens as a FA next year when Andy looks to hang ‘em up. I still think Lackey is worth pursuing for ~ 4 years. The guy wants the ball and wants to win. We’ll get to see Joba and find out what he can do in a full year with no restrictions (I still think he can/will be a pen stud for us). Hughes will have to get stretched out in some mix of long relief and AAA. I doubt he gets more than 8-10 starts in 2010, even if the plan is to move him to a starter’s role. And, yes, I’d swap him (and the prospects) in a deal for Hallady. Even with CC, AJ, Andy and Joba, I’d rather see Lackey getting 30 starts than the mix and match of Guadin, Mitre, Ace, Kennedy, Igawa. etc…… Line up the starting pitching for a 2-3 year run while the rest of the team is pretty darn strong. That’s how dynasties roll. Seize the moment for that last piece of the puzzle when everything else is aligned. Can we win without another top of the rotation guy? Sure, we just did. But our chances of capitalizing on the rest of this strong squad will be a lot better with one more strong starter. I’m hoping Damon and Matsui want to play in NY and realize the salary standards of 2007 and before don’t apply. If that works out, we can easily add that last quality starter we need to turn us from a very good team into a great team.

    11. YankCrank
      November 16th, 2009 | 1:35 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      So, why not go with Jon Garland for your 5th slot where you know he’s a lock for 30 GS and 200 IP?

      I believe some NL teams, like the Mets, are so pitching-starved that Garland can get a better contract than what we’d want to pay him to be our 5th starter.

      In general, I believe a Mitre/Gaudin/Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves are completely capable of switching through the 5th spot in our rotation without us having to drop millions on another pitcher. I think we proved this year that we don’t need 5 great pitchers to win a World Series.

    12. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 2:08 pm

      Yeah, I guess Minaya is in “I need to save my job” full panic mode… But will he have the $$ to make moves?

    13. #15
      November 16th, 2009 | 3:43 pm

      Look at it this way….. We’ve got a real ace, for the first time in a long time, in CC, a solid 3 in AJ (might be a 2 at times, might be a 4 at times), a seasoned pro in Andy, that likely has given us more than we can expect in the future, a question mark in Joba over a full season, and some mix of Steve’s Gang of 5 (Mitre/Gaudin/Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves ). A guy like Lackey would: 1) give us a 1-2-3 punch that really sharpens us for post season play, 2) moves AJ to the three and Joba-Andy to the 4-5 spots, 3) helps to insulates us from an injury or a tired arm by Andy (it will happen sooner or later). How many people think we’ll get 30-32 starts from each of CC, AJ, Andy, and Joba? One more stud starter gets us into the 110 win category, and, more importantly, puts us head and shoulders up on the competition in the post season. Save a few million each on Damon and Matsui with lowered 2010 salaries (save 2-3 million on each), wave goodbye to Jose “Buffet” Molina (2 mill), dump Igawa (even if you have to pick up 1 million of his salary for a net savings of ~3 million), wave off Hairston (2 mill) and Hinske (1.5 mill) (make Pena your super sub), and there’s a good chunk of what you’ll need to make a strong run at Lackey. In fact, getting Lackey strengthens the case for being able to hold the line on Johnny D and/or Matsui. One of those two could go and we’d be okay going with less offense from either the DH or LF spots. You might argue that Lackey isn’t the guy, but it will be hard to convince me that we aren’t way stronger with one more solid starter, even if it means we lose/risk one offensive threat to get there.

      Also, I doubt the Rangers or the Mets will have the coin available to really make a run at Lackey. Both organizations have $$$ troubles. Minaya may well be in panic mode, but his boss took a financial beating this year. I have a hard time seeing Lackey going to Seattle or some other place that are not ready to really compete for a ring.

    14. Scout
      November 16th, 2009 | 4:14 pm

      @ #15:

      I strongly share #15′s views, but to this point I do not see the Yankees showing interest in Lackey. Of course, this could be a smokescreen to conceal their real lintentions, and what they do may depend on other moves they make and their sense of the market. Certainly, they won’t engage in the kind of pre-emptive strike for Lackey that we saw last year with C.C.

    15. #15
      November 16th, 2009 | 4:24 pm

      Just one other thought with respect to locking up a rotation that makes us a preseason favorite for the next 2-3years…. How much longer will it before before Mo declines/retires, and turns us into just another good team with a mere mortal closer? Every other closer in the post season got touched up to one degree or another. We are so fortunate to have had this guy, but he won’t last forever. Just about the time Hughes or Joba “might” be capable of winning 16-18 games/year, we might not have the bullpen to make it matter in the post season. We are this close (the space between these lines)…. ll…. to being capable of dominating for the next few years. Take a deep breath, lock up that other starter, and go for it.

    16. GDH
      November 16th, 2009 | 4:27 pm

      Cashman has proven over the past few years that it is definitely doable to piece together long relief and a #4-5 starter – IF – the top of the rotation holds strong. Last year it did, with CC and Burnett both going 200+, and Andy just under 200. Most teams do a fair bit of switching in the 4-5 role without too much hurt, but if a 1,2 or 3 goes down, it’s trouble, like it was two years ago with Wang.

      My worry is, something tells me that Andy’s playing with house money already. No matter what we’re paying him, if he’s the #3, he’d better be good for the season or else we’re scrambling.

      Expect Lackey to get at least 4 years, possibly 5, from a team that needs an #1, not a #2 or #3. That’s why if the Yanks or Sox want him, they will both overpay in money and years. I’d rather go with Harden, Pettite, and see how the whole thing shakes out. Don’t rule out another Cliff Lee like trade at the deadline either. My best case we get Haren at the deadline.

      BTW, I don’t see Damon coming back either. Boras is already starting with the ridiculous demands, which he won’t get, but the Giants (or someone else craving a leadoff bat) will give him more, and he’ll take the money, and more importantly, the years. I really hope we have the sense to bring Matsui back as DH, the corner outfield spot will be easier to replace than Godzilla.

    17. GDH
      November 16th, 2009 | 4:29 pm

      @ #15:
      The Angels do – and should – spend the money to keep Lackey. He’s their #1 guy.

    18. November 16th, 2009 | 5:27 pm

      GDH wrote:

      Cashman has proven over the past few years that it is definitely doable to piece together long relief and a #4-5 starter – IF – the top of the rotation holds strong.

      Agreed that you can get by with so-so at #4 and #5 during the regular season assuming your 1, 2, and 3 are good for 90 GS, close to 600 IP, and 45 wins or more. But, in the post-season, that trick will only work if you:

      1. Have a #1 who can give you some starts on 3-days rest – like CC did this year
      AND
      2. if you get lucky to get the schedule with all the off-days like the Yankees did this off-season.

      If the Yankees had been pressed to have to use a #4 starter in the LCS or WS, we might be looking at another year without a ring this season – because their rotation after the first three was so crappy.

    19. Scout
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:03 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Well, having Lackey as your #2 would certainly solidify the post-season rotation, although I suspect the Yankees believe either Hughes or Chamberlain will mature to the point that one can start in the post-season. I much prefer the greater secuirty of the starter with a demonstrated record of play-off experience.

    20. OldYanksFan
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:21 pm

      Cory says: I could live with a rotation of : Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Harden/Hughes (Hughes once Harden is injured).

      And as backup, you have Sergio Mitre, Gaudin and IPK. No Geise or Ponson necessary. Harden doesn’t overwork the BP, he just only gives 1/2 season of starts…. but they are quality starts. Considering Phil can’t go a full season, I think it’s a good fit…. that is, assuming he is relatively cheap.

      What is his injury history? Is it all shoulder/arm stuff…. or non-arm stuff?

    21. Evan3457
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:26 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Here’s the rub – if you want Rich Harden to be your 5th guy and you know he’s only good for 20 starts and 150 IP, then you’re looking at someone like Sergio Mitre or Dan Giese or Sidney Ponson for another 10 starts and 50 IP when Harden is MIA. (And, Cashman has already shown his willingness to fill in that 5th slot, in case of injury, with crap like Mitre or Ponson.)

      So, why not go with Jon Garland for your 5th slot where you know he’s a lock for 30 GS and 200 IP? It saves having to give a 40-man roster spot to a Mitre-type back-up SP. And, with the Yankees offense, a league average pitcher like Garland, facing the other team’s 5th SP most times, will win at least half of his starts.

      Because Harden is MUCH better than Garland, and MIGHT be available for less guaranteed money. Garland has been better in the postseason, but in a very small sample; two starts for each.

    22. Evan3457
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:29 pm

      OldYanksFan wrote:

      Cory says: I could live with a rotation of : Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Harden/Hughes (Hughes once Harden is injured).

      And as backup, you have Sergio Mitre, Gaudin and IPK. No Geise or Ponson necessary. Harden doesn’t overwork the BP, he just only gives 1/2 season of starts…. but they are quality starts. Considering Phil can’t go a full season, I think it’s a good fit…. that is, assuming he is relatively cheap.

      What is his injury history? Is it all shoulder/arm stuff…. or non-arm stuff?

      Most of it’s arm stuff, including shoulder stuff.

    23. GDH
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:32 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Agreed on this Steve, but I think that by hook or crook someone could step up and start 2 post season games. It’s just that this year Girardi did not have to, and so he didn’t. And without any evidence to back this, I have a feeling that this year there will be a lot of moves made, some at the deadline. With this economy a lot of mid-market arms will sign one year deals, making them ideal for midseason trade. Even Halladay could be a deadline rental. They’re torn about moving him before the season, because they don’t want to lose the tickets on his starts.

      The thing that worries me about this path (and it’s the path I favor) is that anything happens to Andy (or AJ or CC) and it spells trouble. Fact is though, that happens to any team’s #1-#3 starters, and it’s trouble.

    24. Corey
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:46 pm

      Raf wrote:

      FWIW, he has been somewhat active on FB… He may have been on vacation, or soaking in the WS Victory :D

      lol, didn’t realize it’s been that long since I commented. I’ve just been busy trying to find a new job, it takes up quite a bit of time. No vacation for me till this Thursday, when I go to the Dominican. When I get down there, I want to see how hard it would be to take in a winter league game. If I can, I’ll be sure to take pics for everyone.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      So, why not go with Jon Garland for your 5th slot where you know he’s a lock for 30 GS and 200 IP? It saves having to give a 40-man roster spot to a Mitre-type back-up SP. And, with the Yankees offense, a league average pitcher like Garland, facing the other team’s 5th SP most times, will win at least half of his starts.

      Is Garland worth that much more than Mitre or Gaudin? And, after a decent year, I would think he would command at least a 2 year deal. Why bother?

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      2. if you get lucky to get the schedule with all the off-days like the Yankees did this off-season.

      True, this year the Yankees did indeed get lucky without having the need to use a 4th starter. I do, however, truly believe that amongst the group of Chamberlain, Hughes, and Aceves, that we have a 4th starter next year. This may be the fan in me wanting it, but I think that Joba will pull a Vaughn in major league II and come back with the wild thing next year.

      In any case, does anyone have an idea on what kind of terms Harden is looking for on his next deal? Years/$$? If the years are low, I’d sign him over Lackey or any other free agent option out there.

    25. Corey
      November 16th, 2009 | 6:56 pm

      I also want to say I’m glad that nobody brought our son’s name into this conversation. He does not now, then, or ever belong on a Yankee mound.

    26. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 7:48 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      If the Yankees had been pressed to have to use a #4 starter in the LCS or WS, we might be looking at another year without a ring this season – because their rotation after the first three was so crappy.

      They may, they may not. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Joba or Gaudin would throw a good game in the postseason. In 2007, the best pitcher they had, Wang, was lit up twice. They were going with a rotation of Wang, Pettitte, Clemens and they lost to the likes of Sabathia, Carmona, Westbrook & Byrd

    27. Raf
      November 16th, 2009 | 7:52 pm

      Corey wrote:

      When I get down there, I want to see how hard it would be to take in a winter league game. If I can, I’ll be sure to take pics for everyone.

      It isn’t hard at all. Assuming you’re staying in Santo Domingo, you’ll have your choices of two teams, the Tigers and Eagles. Don’t know schedules off the top of my head, tho

    28. MJ
      November 16th, 2009 | 7:52 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I also want to say I’m glad that nobody brought our son’s name into this conversation. He does not now, then, or ever belong on a Yankee mound.

      It took me a minute but I got your meaning. Yes, 100%. And while you’re on vacation in the DR and you happen to run into him, kick him in the nads for me. I’ve never stopped hating that loud-mouthed little fucker.

    29. MJ
      November 16th, 2009 | 7:54 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Why Harden over Garland? Because Harden’s better. The analysis should be quite that simple.

    30. November 16th, 2009 | 10:25 pm

      @ MJ:
      When I was 14-years old, I’m more than sure that Olivia Newton John (back in 1976) was a better kisser than the girl who lived next door to me (who, like me, was 16 at the time). Just as Harden is better than Garland – at pitching, of course! But, just as Oliva was not around Staten Island when I needed her in ’76, Harden cannot be counted on…while the girl next door, back in ’76, who was very reliable, was there when I had the need to make-out without fail….as Garland would be there to take a regular and trusted turn…when the Yankees rotation hit the 5-slot….

      Doesn’t matter how great a pitcher is…if he can’t stay off the D.L.

    31. YankCrank
      November 16th, 2009 | 10:50 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      But, just as Oliva was not around Staten Island when I needed her in ‘76, Harden cannot be counted on…while the girl next door, back in ‘76, who was very reliable, was there when I had the need to make-out without fail

      Would you still make out with Jon Garland if it cost you two guaranteed years?

      Wait, now i’m confused…

    32. November 16th, 2009 | 10:56 pm

      @ YankCrank: ;-) Maybe for one with a team option on the second…

    33. YankCrank
      November 16th, 2009 | 10:58 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ YankCrank: Maybe for one with a team option on the second…

      Hahaha

    34. Raf
      November 17th, 2009 | 8:16 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ MJ:
      When I was 14-years old, I’m more than sure that Olivia Newton John (back in 1976) was a better kisser than the girl who lived next door to me (who, like me, was 16 at the time). Just as Harden is better than Garland – at pitching, of course! But, just as Oliva was not around Staten Island when I needed her in ‘76, Harden cannot be counted on…while the girl next door, back in ‘76, who was very reliable, was there when I had the need to make-out without fail….as Garland would be there to take a regular and trusted turn…when the Yankees rotation hit the 5-slot….
      Doesn’t matter how great a pitcher is…if he can’t stay off the D.L.

      I dunno about not being counted on, it seems you get the best of both worlds. You get Olivia Newton John, and when she flakes, you have your neighbor. As long as both women understand their roles, there shouldn’t be a problem.

    35. MJ
      November 17th, 2009 | 8:51 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      How many starts does a 5th starter make in a given year? How many innings does a 5th starter pitch in a given year? If the goal of any pitcher is to get to 200 innings and Harden only gives you 150 from the back end of the rotation, you’re looking at 50 innings from some combination of Gaudin, Mitre, Hughes, Aceves, Wang (possibly), Kennedy or any other guy out there. 50 innings at roughly league average from the 5-spot? What’s so terrible about that, especially when the other 150 innings came from a guy with lights out stuff.

      Forget all this Olivia Newton-John stuff. You sign the better pitcher because he’s better. If he flakes, you have backup options too. Would you rather have 200 average innings from your 5th starter or 150 good ones from your 5th starter? I’ll take the good every time. The other 50 you get from the pu-pu platter would be no worse than Garland’s anyway…

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