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  • Twins Ink Rich Harden to Minor League Deal

    The Minnesota Twins continue to stockpile arms for what could be an interesting competition for a rotation spot this spring.

    First reported by the Star Tribune’s LeVelle Neal yesterday, the Twins moved quickly and signed right-handed starter Rich Harden to a minor league deal to include a spring training invite.

    Harden, 31, missed all of 2012 after a shoulder strain necessitated rotator cuff surgery.

    Interestingly enough, the injury’s origin, Harden believes, was sustained in 2007 when he tore the capsule attempting to field a comebacker bare handed against the Yankees. The Athletics did not disclose the injury because of medical privacy laws. In order to combat the problem, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Harden revamped his mechanics in 2008. The disruption in his shoulder may have sparked a lengthy list of other ailments as he tried to compensate for his original injury.

    When healthy, he has been a front-end type starter. In fact, dating back to 2008, no one has missed more bats than Harden. Armed with a lethal slider, Harden has a career swinging strike rate of 12.5% and has a career strikeout rate of 24.2%.

    Of course, the is plenty of risk suggesting that following a rotator cuff surgery, he may never fully regain his stuff prior to the repair. As Houston’s team physician, Dr. David Lintner, told MLB.com in 2007, unlike Tommy John surgery, rotator cuff repair is not nearly as easy to return from:

    "Rotator cuff surgery is trying to repair a frayed tendon, comparable to sewing a small hole together or sewing a large hole together with shades of gray in between. The main task with Tommy John surgery [is] you are reconnecting a cable or tendon. With the rotator cuff, you're talking about the shoulder and repairing a muscle and a tendon. But it's more than just repairing it, you have to be able to repair the muscle and yet have it be extremely flexible."
    Linter goes on to estimate that of pitchers who have complete tears of their rotator cuff, there is a fifty-fifty chance they get back on the mound.

    Harden could wind up this year’s version of Joel Zumaya: an oft-injured pitcher with tons of promise but ultimately ends up a failure to launch in Florida. That notwithstanding, the Twins have made a calculated signing and have acquired for pennies an arm that is capable of missing a substantial amount of bats – something lacking at the highest levels. If he does not pan out as a starter, Harden could still be a serviceable arm in the bullpen in a limited capacity.

    In addition to inking Harden, the Twins also announce their list of spring training invitees. The list includes pitchers Bryan Augenstein, Nick Blackburn, Deolis Guerra, Alex Meyer, Lester Oliveros and Anthony Slama; outfielders Brandon Boggs and Clete Thomas; infielders Jeff Clement, Chris Colabello, Ray Olmedo and Mark Sobolewski; and catchers Kyle Knudson, Danny Lehmann and Dan Rohlfing.

    Also revealed, starter Scott Diamond had a scope on his left elbow to remove some bone chips on Tuesday.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Ink Rich Harden to Minor League Deal started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 77 Comments
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Why Not? Bring in Arms... even if it's an Arm that falls off every once in awhile. It may not be the Mid Level guy that most of us want but there is no guarentee that the Mid-level guy doesn't go down with injury during the season either and our SP needs go way beyond one guy.

      TR is fixing one thing from last year. We have people to turn to if the wheels fall off of someone during the season... Either through injury or pitching terribly. Hopefully we can avoid the 6 plus ERA guy for long stretches in 2013 because we don't have anyone else to replace him.

      We can't go through 2012 again. Hopefully this works a little.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Why Not? Bring in Arms... even if it's an Arm that falls off every once in awhile. It may not be the Mid Level guy that most of us want but there is no guarentee that the Mid-level guy doesn't go down with injury during the season either and our SP needs go way beyond one guy.

      TR is fixing one thing from last year. We have people to turn to if the wheels fall off of someone during the season... Either through injury or pitching terribly. Hopefully we can avoid the 6 plus ERA guy for long stretches in 2013 because we don't have anyone else to replace him.

      We can't go through 2012 again. Hopefully this works a little.
      This is a call to arms, gather pitchers...time to go play ball. 30 Seconds to Mars reference if anyone was wondering.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      I love the low-risk, high-reward thing. On a minor league contract, this guy is basically cost-free.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      This is a call to arms, gather pitchers...time to go play ball. 30 Seconds to Mars reference if anyone was wondering.
      This is a battle song Brothers and Sisters!!! Did you ever believe? Were you ever a dreamer?
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Not too many years ago, I would have thought this was a good idea.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      This is a battle song Brothers and Sisters!!! Did you ever believe? Were you ever a dreamer?
      It's the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,
      The moment to live and the moment to die,
      The moment to fight, the moment to fight
      To fight, to fight, to fight!
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Not too many years ago, I would have thought this was a good idea.
      It is a good idea. What risk is a minor league contract? None! So stop complaining.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Let me just say I am EXTREMELY pleased with this signing. Harden was one of the players I wanted in my original plan and to get him on a minor league deal is gold. Strikeout artist with a great ceiling. Low risk, very high reward. Possible #2, but he hasn't done much in the last 3-4 years. I really love everything Terry Ryan has done except for the Correia signing. Which, by the way, looks more and more questionable after every new pitching acquisition. 5 spots and he (Kevin) might prove to be inferior to all these guys: Diamond, Hendriks, Harden, Pelfrey, Gibson, Worley, Hernandez, Hermsen, and Deduno. Maybe not the last 3, maybe yes. We'll have to see.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      What's not to like is that this is the strategy, instead of signing one legit pitcher. Hope is a bad strategy.

      I understand your point, but I would rather TR sign a bunch of "give me a shot at my former glory" guys for 2013, than a bunch of mid-level starters to 4 and 5 year deals. If given the choice at this point of having Marcum, E. Jackson and Blanton all signed and in the fold on 4 to 5 year deals, I would much rather be where we are at now. We won't be able to even see the division lead after the all-star break, so why jeopardize our future on long term deals just to put a competitive team on the field for 2013?

      Our defense and offense won't be much better than our starting pitching in 2013, however we have a chance to put together a real nice team in all phases of the game in 2014 and beyond as long as we don't sign any stupid contracts now, that would extend into those seasons. Sure, Blanton, Marcum and Jackson would look a lot better on the field in 2013 than what we will end up seeing. However if you sign those guys through 2016 and 2017, we have destroyed our future. Do you really want those guys to be the core of your rotation in 2016? Let the Myers, Mays, Berrios, Diamonds progress and I'm sure we will have more options for starting pitching FA after the 2015 and 2016 seasons. We will be looking at one, maybe two guys at that point to really solidify our pitching staff. In my mind that will be money well spent.

      I may be wrong, if Blanton, Marcum and Jackson are vying for the Cy Young award in 2016, I will admit you were right, I was wrong. I strongly believe that locking up league average starting pitchers long term as they head into the downside of their careers is the wrong approach.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      This is a good signing. Minor league deal has very little risk attached to it. But I think he needs to become a reliever like Kerry Wood did. This guy was never really more than a 6 inning guy when "healthy", let alone now. But he has ALWAYS struck guys out. I'd rather have that kind of upside than the Correia/Pelfrey type, which is "Gee, this guy throws batting practice and seems like he should be getting torched, but his ERA is surprisingly good!"
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by minn55441 View Post
      I strongly believe that locking up league average starting pitchers long term as they head into the downside of their careers is the wrong approach.
      I agree with what you're saying, but it leaves out the crucial point that I think Terry Ryan is considering and with which I also agree. When you sign a guy to a multi-year contract, you are taking on a fair degree of risk. Now, one may look at a particular stud pitcher and guess that there is no risk based on his track record, but I don't think the record bears that out - in a previous post I took a look at the league's best starters 5 years ago and the 2012 record for those pitchers was pretty bad if you had paid big money that included this year in the contract.

      Now, sometimes, it makes sense to take on that risk. But to do it now, means you are taking the risk of a Marcum or Jackson being bad in the last year of his contract, in exchange for ... what? A more competitive 2013? It's a bad bargain.

      Two years from now, when the team is really ready to compete, there will be the equivalents of Marcum and Jackson available. At that point, you might take on future risk in exchange for solidifying something for the 2015 team. You really are getting something of value in exchange for the risk.

      There's nothing so unique about the talent available for signing today that says you need to pull the trigger on it. I guess I'm belaboring the point, but so many posters seem puzzled by what Terry Ryan is doing this off-season. It doesn't seem puzzling to me at all.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      The Twins need to do more than sign minor league contracts. That just proves how dirt cheap Ryan is. He is a dirt bag!
      Well, I don't know how anybody can complain about this signing. There is only upside. If he looks bad in ST, he gets cut.

      I also don't believe Terry Ryan is a dirt bag. I live near farms, and Terry Ryan doesn't look like any bag of dirt I have seen. He actually looks more like a person than a bag. I mean bags don't have arms or legs or a face for that matter. If he is dirt, it has to be the whitest dirt I have ever seen. Most dirt around here is brown or black. You may want to look at pictures of bags of dirt and pictures of Terry Ryan, you might get a better idea of the differences.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      You guys are so full of it!
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      "Signing league average pitchers long-term..."--All agree Correia isn't much, but two years 'isn't long-term'. These one-year deals--they do show a commitment to put a decent team on the field in 2013--and that was part of the agreement between taxpayer and ownership. A 75 win team is more entertaining than last season's 66 win team. It wasn't just the 96 losses--but that all too many of these "losses" came in the first three innings with the rest of the game just "mop-up". I believe Twins fans deserve better--and that the team can be rebuilt into a consistent winner while still putting an entertaining team on the field during the years needed to rebuild.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So punt on 2013 and 2014, minn55441? That's your strategy?

      People keep talking about "risk" and signing guys that have actually succeeded in the majors, but somehow are ignoring the risk that these prospects might not work out. And, since it "does not make sense to sign any legit FA unless your team is close", what happens in the next two years if some of the prospects don't work?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      A 75 win team is not sufficiently more entertaining than a 66 win team to put butts in seats, imo.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Good article. I wonder how much they are paying him.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by andrewberg View Post
      The love for guys with a .0001% chance of a big payoff here shows me why casinos have so many more slot machines than poker tables.
      Your analogy is off because you seem to be missing the asymmetry.

      If I'm betting $1, I will take 10-1 odds when the payoff is $10 before I'll take 2-1 odds when the payoff is $1. One is more likely, but the other is far preferable.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Good article. I wonder how much they are paying him.
      It's a minor league deal so he will get paid the same as the rest of the minor leaguers (around $50k).
    1. Danchat's Avatar
      Danchat -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Not too many years ago, I would have thought this was a good idea.
      That was before you went senile?
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