UPDATE: Athletics have talked to Rich Harden, no deal


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.

Hall of Fame will no longer use Chief Wahoo on Hall of Fame plaques

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Last month, in the wake of his election to the Hall of Fame, Jim Thome made it clear that he wanted to be inducted as a Cleveland Indian but that he did not want to have Chief Wahoo on his plaque.

His reasoning: even though that was the cap he wore for almost all of his time in Cleveland, “because of all the history and everything involved” he did not think it was the right thing to do. The context, of course, was the club’s decision, under pressure from Major League Baseball, to scrap the Wahoo logo due to its racial insensitivity, which it appears Thome agrees with.

Hall plaque decisions are not 100% up to the player, however. Rather, the Hall of Fame, while taking player sentiment into account, makes a judgment about the historical accuracy and representativeness of Hall plaques. This is to prevent a club from entering into a contract with a player to wear its logo on the plaque even if he only played with them for a short time or from a player simply picking his favorite club (or spiting his least-favorite), even if he only spent an inconsequential season or two there. Think Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray or Frank Robinson as, I dunno, a Dodger.

In the case of Chief Wahoo, the Hall has not only granted Thome’s wish, but has decreed that no new plaque will have Wahoo on it going forward:

To be fair, I can’t think of another player who wore Wahoo who would make the Hall of Fame in an Indians cap after Thome. Possibly Manny Ramirez if he ever gets in, though he may have a better claim to a Red Sox cap (debate it in the comments). Albert Belle appears on Veterans Committee ballots, but I’d bet my cats that he’s never getting it in. If younger players like Corey Kluber or Francisco Lindor or someone make it in, they’ll likely have just as much history in a Block-C or whatever the Indians get to replace Wahoo with than anything else, so it’s not really an issue for them.

Still, a nice gesture from the Hall, both to accommodate Thome’s wishes and to acknowledge the inappropriateness of using Chief Wahoo for any purpose going forward.