UPDATE: Not so fast on this one. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the A’s have talked to Harden, but that he might have better offers elsewhere. Meanwhile, Renck writes that he hasn’t confirmed his information with the A’s.
So, nothing to see here. At least not yet.
6:56 PM: Here’s an interesting one.
Sources are telling Troy Renck of the Denver Post that Rich Harden is signing with the Athletics.
Harden was originally drafted by the Athletics in 2000 and posted a 3.42 ERA over parts of six seasons with the club before being traded to the Cubs in July of 2008. While Harden can be electric at times, health problems have dogged him throughout his career. The Rangers found out first hand this past season, as the 29-year-old right-hander missed time with a glute strain and shoulder tendinitis while posting a disappointing 5.58 ERA over 20 games (18 starts). He averaged 7.3 K/9 and 6.1 BB/9, both career-worsts.
It’s hard to count on Harden for much, but he’s well worth signing to an incentive-laden deal, with a legitimate chance to rebound in the pitcher-friendly Coliseum. Assuming this goes though, Harden will likely compete with Brandon McCarthy, Josh Outman, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer for the final spot in the starting rotation.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.