Rich Harden is popular this morning – both Bruce Jenkins and Buster Olney discussed his trade value in the wake of his second excellent start of ’08. Jenkins suggests it’ll take at least six starts for suitors to begin believing in Harden. Olney believes he could be the top difference-maker to acquire via trade this summer. It’s pointless to speculate on teams yet – any contender would benefit greatly from adding a healthy Harden (though I will mention that he was recently linked to the Yankees).
Harden is still just 26. He earns $4.5MM this year and then has a $7MM club option for ’09 with no buyout attached. Cot’s Baseball Contract’s also notes escalators based on innings pitched. Harden’s ’09 option is a given as long as he makes a dozen starts this year without needing surgery.