I have seen Rich Harden pitch some pretty good games. I saw him strike out the side on nine pitches once. And, I saw him toss a one-hitter that took around 90 minutes, first pitch to last out.
When Harden threw for Oakland, and was pretty good, going 36-19, 3.42, though just 86 starts over six years, which is, and always has been the problem.
Last year, as the Oakland rotation settled in pretty well around Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, and once healthy, Brett Anderson. The fifth spot was owned by Ben Sheets, who went 4-9, 4.53 over 118 innings for the Athletics, at a measly $10 million.
Sheets is 31, and it might be that his career is over. Harden, though, is just 28 years old, if you can believe that. Now, at $1.5 million, Harden is a bargain compared to Sheets, but I have become leery of these short term crapshoots. Even on my fantasy team.
I guess if nothing else, Oakland should not figure on more than about 80 innings from Harden. If that.
At least, if history repeats, they should be good innings.