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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 Tribuneís 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 injuryís 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 Houstonís 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 yearís 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 Ė 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. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=...or-League-Deal
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Apparently Ryan is looking under every rock to see if there is an effective major league pitcher underneath.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Apparently Ryan is looking under every rock to see if there is a pitcher underneath.
      Fixed.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      I like this signing a lot. I would like him to get 4 more of these guys. Talent, motivated to prove themselves, no long term financial committment. what's not to like? If he gets three or four of these type of comeback attempts, perhaps one will pay dividends, but you never win the lottery without buying a ticket.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      What's not to like is that this is the strategy, instead of signing one legit pitcher. Hope is a bad strategy.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      I love this one! sure hope he lasts more than 20 pitches. On a minor league contract, any production is all bonus and this guy, if healthy enough to pitch, is better than most any other option in the system. That's a HUGE "if," but it's low risk/high reward.
      Go Harden!
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      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.
      While I normally agree, this only registers because he was once a big name. It's a minor league signing, no different than the signing and invitations made to Deduno, Walters and Vasquez. He's not even taking a 40-man roster spot, which means this should probably register lower on the off season radar than the Josh Roenicke and Tim Wood signings.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      In a vacuum, it is not a bad signing. As a collection, buying only bad players or injured players, and hoping they somehow become something they are not, is a bad strategy.

      I could care not care less about this signing, it is the overall strategy that this indicates and fits within that I care about.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Obviously this is good and I wish they would have targeted Harden and others like him to minor league deals and not messed around with Correia and Pelfrey.
    1. chagen's Avatar
      chagen -
      Kind of reminds me of the Joel Zumaya experiment i guy that got good stuff but just can't stay healthy hopefully this one works out!
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      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 would rather have 5 of these kind of guys then 1 Correia
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      The Twins need to do more than sign minor league contracts. That just proves how dirt cheap Ryan is. He is a dirt bag!
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      He should probably just start the Twins' famous "Rest N Rehab" program immediately.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      I like this signing. Now its time to sign Brandon Webb and see what he has left in the tank. In all honesty we know 2013 is a lost cause, but while we give these reclamation projects a shot the guys in the minors will be developing for the future and if one of them actually gets back to his almost former self...then its a win win!
    1. andrewberg's Avatar
      andrewberg -
      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.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      I like this signing. Now its time to sign Brandon Webb and see what he has left in the tank. In all honesty we know 2013 is a lost cause, but while we give these reclamation projects a shot the guys in the minors will be developing for the future and if one of them actually gets back to his almost former self...then its a win win!
      Do not forget Scott Kazmir
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      It is a fine signing and I like the tactic but hopefully Harden's not the last. Certainly you improve your odds by pursuing these sorts with a little more gusto than Jr has to this point. You only need one guy to pan out to make them all worthwhile.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      IIRC, the Twins claimed Harden when he was a Cub, but the Cubs pulled him off waivers.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Do not forget Scott Kazmir
      I think your being sarcastic. But what would be wrong with seeing what Kazmir has left?
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      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.
      I think you need to hire a better odds maker. His 82 inning 2011 still produced a better WAR than all but two Twins starters last year. It's still better odds than trying to come out ahead playing the ATM machine which is what the Correia signing was.

      Besides, why is anyone giving this deal any more pessimism than the minor league deals given to Vasquez, Walters and Deduno?
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