• 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. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Danchat View Post
      That was before you went senile?
      Haha BOOM!
    1. twins4121's Avatar
      twins4121 -
      $52,000? i'd say this is amazing. I do think though that this means we have very little faith of him coming back and staying healthy... Either we hope to get 6-8 solid starts before he goes down, or put him in the pen and milk him springily.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by twins4121 View Post
      $52,000? i'd say this is amazing. I do think though that this means we have very little faith of him coming back and staying healthy... Either we hope to get 6-8 solid starts before he goes down, or put him in the pen and milk him springily.

      No, the real purpose is show that the FO is "not satisfied" with what they have and will continue to add limited risk (limited reward also) to show the fan base that "they're trying". Yes, this is a CYA manuever.

      Let Mike bitch about 75 wins are not enough--but this team needs so much help to get to 81, much less 97 (60%), that to think it could be done in one year is total fantasy. To consider Marcum (or any other SP on the FA market) is total BS.
      This team won't get turned around until the minor leaguers mature--and are the real deal! I think if half of the "top ten prospects" amount to quality major leaguers there would be cause for a major celebration.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      The two year deal is the only one that bothered me. If May and Meyer are not ready by 2014 second half or one of the other Twin minor leaguers we are in deep trouble with a total pitching staff rebuild needed again
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Let's accept this move for what it is... a low risk move (50k) with a high reward, but the odds of it panning out are likely less than 10%. I doubt at this point that Ryan expects the Twins to contend, and to be honest, even if Harden is a gold mine, they still would be a fringe contender at best. The flip side is that if he is money this spring, he gets flipped for something decent at the deadline. Pitching is always in demand at the trade deadline, and a healthy Harden should fetch a nice price.

      I don't get why people are complaining, this is exactly the type of move they shoudl be making... It's the same reason why they should get Bedard (though he will cost more).
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Let's not kid ourselves--none of these "marginal" pitchers signed can be "flipped" for someone useful--remember Livan Hernandez and his 10 wins in July '08?--nobody wanted him!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I agree, fixing the team in 1 year is unrealistic. That is why signing one legit pitcher this year made sense. He can either be here in 2 or 3 years, or be traded for more prospects. As for the 75 win number, do people think a team like that will sell tickets? And if their revenue drops, do you think they will buy players next year?
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      I have had three rotator cuff surgeries in the past 11 years. The first was described as large, the next was bigger, and the last one (all by the same surgeon) was was said to be way bigger.

      I do not know how these compare to what Harden had, or anyone elses either. In fact it was never explained to me why my tears were considered large to huge.

      I would say returning to high performance would be very ambitious unless his is a small tear. Lets hope for the best.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I think I read the Twins will have 34 pitchers in camp this spring, looking to give a lot of arms a look and see what sticks.

      -P
    1. Texas Mike's Avatar
      Texas Mike -
      [when in Texas, Harden was known as the "Club Douche". It is another low risk move by TR.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pleiss View Post
      I think I read the Twins will have 34 pitchers in camp this spring, looking to give a lot of arms a look and see what sticks.

      -P
      That's not enough. I'd like at least 40.
    1. jcphitman's Avatar
      jcphitman -
      I love this signing! Nearly no risk and great reward if Harden succeeds. I'm never against a minor league deal as long as this isn't the Twins only move (which it is not for SP ... even though the other moves ... especially Correia... are questionable at best). I've been a big fan of Harden.

      A bit worry hearing Ryan said the Twins medical staff examined him and said he was worth a look. The medical staff does not give me any confidence with what the team has been through with injuries.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Let's not kid ourselves--none of these "marginal" pitchers signed can be "flipped" for someone useful--remember Livan Hernandez and his 10 wins in July '08?--nobody wanted him!
      There was never a chance that Livan pitched like a number 2... and he still got flipped. Harden, if healthy, WILL be in demand come June... It's a big IF, but he could net something decent if he's pitching well.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Interestingly enough, the injury’s origin, Harden believes, was sustained in 2007
      I did a bit of research on Harden's injury history, and you can find a complete history of his injuries (at least in the MLB) here. His first R shoulder problems started in 2004 and he had already missed 88 days because of his shoulder before the 2007 situation. He had a total of 22 injuries and lost more than 758 days in his career. What concerns me the most about his history is that he has been diagnosed with a UCL "sprain" in 2006, which made him lose 108 days (of RnR). His shoulder has given up before his elbow each season after, so if the surgery (capsule btw, not labrum) fixed his chronic shoulder condition, the elbow might go a la Joel Zumaya. Hope the best. This can be a really great signing if he is healthy.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      I did a bit of research on Harden's injury history, and you can find a complete history of his injuries (at least in the MLB) here. His first R shoulder problems started in 2004 and he had already missed 88 days because of his shoulder before the 2007 situation. He had a total of 22 injuries and lost more than 758 days in his career. What concerns me the most about his history is that he has been diagnosed with a UCL "sprain" in 2006, which made him lose 108 days (of RnR). His shoulder has given up before his elbow each season after, so if the surgery (capsule btw, not labrum) fixed his chronic shoulder condition, the elbow might go a la Joel Zumaya. Hope the best. This can be a really great signing if he is healthy.
      When are the Twins annoucing the Scott Baker signing?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      When are the Twins annoucing the Scott Baker signing?
      Same time the Cubs will announce the A. Sanchez signing and the Haren and cash for Marmol trade. "Done deals" get undone some times. Mea Culpa. Move on...
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Same time the Cubs will announce the A. Sanchez signing and the Haren and cash for Marmol trade. "Done deals" get undone some times. Mea Culpa. Move on...
      lmao done deals get undone some times, why don't you just admit you were talking out of your ass? And then we can move on...
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      lmao done deals get undone some times, why don't you just admit you were talking out of your ass? And then we can move on...
      He mea-culpa-ed, Dave. No need to continue to pile it on....
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Yeah, but it was kind of a back-handed mea-culpa-ing, so it doesn't really count.
    1. AM.'s Avatar
      AM. -
      Sure, let's hope TR grabs Bedard and Webb too. As an example, last year Atlanta grabbed Sheets, who was able to recreate his previous results. If any of Harden, Webb or Bedard got healthy, it would be a windfall.

      I also would still hope Ryan signs Marcum for at least 3 years.

      2014 rotation of Marcum, Gibson, Worley, Hendriks, and Diamond would be fine, with May and Meyer getting close.
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