Rich Harden‘s name first popped up in trade rumors in December. John Delcos spoke with Mets GM Omar Minaya and indicated that the A’s starter was surprisingly available, perhaps for a package of Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman, and Philip Humber. Ken Rosenthal later indicated that it was Dan Haren the Mets really wanted. A confusing situation all around.
Buster Olney brought the rumor back to life today in his blog with some informed speculation. He thinks that if Harden could stay healthy for a month or two, there could be a huge market for him at the deadline. He’s locked up at a reasonable price through 2009.
Olney speculates that the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, or the big money teams could make a play. One source Olney spoke to liked the Devil Rays as a suitor. Personally I think Kazmir/Harden would be a lot better on paper than in reality, much like Prior/Wood. I have to admit that putting Elijah Dukes and Milton Bradley on the same team could be cool. Sidenote: Dukes seems like a changed man. He sounds like a normal guy now, hanging out and eating Red Lobster with his family.
Acquiring Harden in exchange for top tier talent would certainly be a risky move for a GM. One GM not afraid to take risks: Kenny Williams. The White Sox have a great medical staff, too.