For weeks, it has been a foregone conclusion that the Chicago Cubs would not re-sign starting pitcher Rich Harden. Harden has a torn shoulder, which he pitched through adequately this year, and is not a particularly durable starter. For the kind of money he will command, the Cubs have simply decided to look for an internal solution to the hole in the rotation his departure will create.
Um, but has anyone told Rich Harden that?
Rich Harden is holding out hope of remaining a Cub. His agent, Arn Tellem, is in Chicago and plans to meet with Hendry soon. BostonHerald.com.
Well, Rich, if you’re willing to take a discount…
In reality, even if Harden is will to take a one-year, $8 million deal (he shouldn’t), the Cubs are unlikely to re-sign him. The budget room at this point is razor thin, and there are impending holes in the outfield and at second base that they’d rather fill first.
Sadly, Harden’s overtures may actually hurt the Cubs. Now that they know he wants to return, it makes it even less likely that the Cubs would offer him arbitration – which could have yielded a draft pick if he declined, and signed elsewhere. Now the Cubs will fear that he will accept, sticking them with an $8 to 10 million price tag for Harden in 2010.
Still, it’s unfortunate – Harden is likely to sign a multi-year deal elsewhere, rather than risk another one year deal. The risk that he’d accept may very well be worth the offer and possible first round pick. As a Type B free agent, the signing team would not have to give up a pick, itself, thus making Harden even more attractive to another team.