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11/30/1981 (35 y, 3 m, 26 d)
2000 June Amateur Draft - Round: 17, Pick: 20, Overall: 510, Team: Oakland Athletics
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The Twins granted Harden (shoulder) his unconditional release Sunday, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. (7/28/2013)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
The native Canadian had his worst season in quite a while. In his first full year with the Cubs, Harden posted a 4.35 FIP and 4.92 tRA when he pitched, thanks to an inflated HR/FB ratio. Harden’s talents are tantalizing; his 67.3% contact rate marked as a career best, which makes the idea of batters blasting so many home runs a bit odd. However, remember that starting-pitcher home-run rates aren’t entirely skill-based. Harden enters the offseason as a free agent with injury concerns, which should drive his asking price downwards.
The Year Ahead:
Go ahead and put down a few dominating starts and a few missed starts due to time on the disabled list for Harden. Over the last three years he’s made 26, 25, and four starts; obviously 2007 is a bit of an outlier, but only once in his career has he topped 30 starts. Expect his home-run rates to regress, which will lead to a lower ERA, and Harden will rack up the strikeouts without much limitation. He’s a bit of a risk because of the injury bug, but when on, few are better. Because of his outstanding stuff, Harden likely won’t be hurt too much by pitching in the offense-boosting park in Texas. In fact, the solid offense around him could help him post even better win totals. (R.J. Anderson)
Before 2010, Texas signed Harden to an incentive-laden one-year, $7.5 million contract -- likely with the idea that, even if the injury-prone Harden didn't pitch for long, he'd at least pitch well. As it turns out, he didn't really do either, posting a 5.58 ERA (5.90 xFIP) over 92.0 innings. It's likely that a drop in velocity -- from about 92 mph in 2008-09 to 90.5 last season -- is partly to blame, and that's a scary thing insofar as pitchers rarely regain velocity without some manner of surgery. Accordingly, the market for Harden's services was markedly thinner this past offseason, leading him to sign a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the A's in mid-December. Oakland has already announced that they plan to use him as a reliever, so, unless he displaces Andrew Bailey as the team's closer, he's unlikely to have much fantasy value this year. (Carson Cistulli)
The Quick Opinion:
Neither stayed healthy nor played well in 2010. Will now pitch in relief, but not as a closer, for Oakland.
Harden is drawing some interest in a relief role, something that would make sense given his utter lack of anything resembling durability. The 31-year-old made just 15 starts last season and was under 100 innings pitched for the second straight season. He still has the elite swing-and-miss that has kept him desired through his injuries, racking up whiffs on 12% of pitches last season. Even in a relief role, however, don't expect Harden to feature prominently enough anywhere to be worthy of fantasy pickups in all but the deepest formats. (Jack Moore)
The Quick Opinion:
Harden has drawn interest as a reliever in 2011, and that may be necessary just in order to keep him on the field these days.
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Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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