Rich Harden Rumors


Central Links: Stetter, Bonifacio, Ryan, Harden

Former Brewers reliever Mitch Stetter announced on Twitter last night that he has retired from baseball and accepted a coaching job with the Royals. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets that Stetter will be the Double-A bullpen coach. Stetter, 33, hasn't appeared in the bigs since 2011 after his career was cut short by hip surgery and a back injury. From 2009-11 with the Brew Crew, Stetter posted a 3.46 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in 75 1/3 innings. While his command was clearly lacking, the southpaw held opposing lefties to just a .194/.310/.335 slash line in his career. Best of luck in your coaching career, Mitch.

Elsewhere in baseball's Central divisions...

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Royals will only be on the hook for about $575K of Emilio Bonifacio's salary if he clears release waivers tomorrow at 2pm ET and becomes a free agent. While a claim is unlikely, a number of teams are interested in Bonifacio, he adds in a second tweet.
  • Cotillo tweets that as many as nine teams have interest in Bonifacio. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the Orioles are one of those teams, pointing out that Bonifacio has long been a favorite of manager Buck Showalter. Besides that, the Orioles lack a clear starter at Bonifacio's best position -- second base. However, Kubatko also tweets that Baltimore isn't interested in him at his $3.5MM salary, so a waiver claim isn't likely.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan, who announced yesterday that he has cancer, is among the game's most respected general managers, writes Phil Rogers of MLB.com. Rogers recalls that Ryan displayed the ultimate selflessness a GM could show back in 2001 when, with the Twins facing contraction, Ryan turned down a chance to run the Blue Jays to stay with his club.
  • Right-hander Rich Harden wants to pitch in 2014 but won't sign anywhere until he's further along in his throwing, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The Twins wouldn't rule out a return for Harden, even though the former ace never pitched for one of Minnesota's affiliates after signing a minor league deal with the club last offseason.



Quick Hits: Harden, O's, Arroyo, Stanton, d'Arnaud

32-year-old righty Rich Harden is not retiring, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Though he has not played professionally since 2011, and had a comeback bid with the Twins fall apart last year due to multiple, ongoing injury issues, Harden will apparently give it another go. Harden has been brilliant at times in his career, and owns a lifetime 3.76 ERA over 928 1/3 innings (including 9.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9).

Here are a few more notes to round out the evening:

  • One factor in Bronson Arroyo's decision to sign with the Diamondbacks rather than the Orioles, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, was the fact that Baltimore had scrapped deals with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin over concerns with their physicals. The O's offer was on par with that of the D-Backs: it was for slightly less guaranteed money, but carried a greater third-year option value. While Connolly writes that other factors -- including a preference for the NL West -- certainly played a role, he says that the risk of a deal falling apart at this stage of the off-season weighed substantially in Arroyo's decision-making process.
  • The Marlins have made clear that they hope to extend star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that Stanton still wants to see what the organization does moving forward. "I want some team security as well," Stanton said. "I'm very pleased with how things panned out for me. But I would like to see it grow. I have my security, somewhat now. I'd like to see a team full of that, which we are going in the right direction." The 24-year-old slugger inicated that he does not expect to engage in talks until after the coming season. "In order for the team to have security," he said. "that doesn't happen in two seconds. That happens over a season or over two seasons. You show me that, and we can get something going."
  • A major factor in the rebuilding process of another NL East club -- the Mets -- is the development of young catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Though he struggled at the plate in limited action last year, the backstop comes with an excellent pedigree with the bat. Promisingly, moreover, he also showed signs of adding value in another area, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com: in his short season of work at the MLB level, d'Arnaud flashed outstanding pitch-framing ability.



Minor Moves: Buckner, Harden, Cedeno

Today's minor moves..

  • Right-hander Billy Buckner cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment by the Angels to Triple-A Salt Lake, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Buckner was designated for assignment by the Angels last Thursday.
  • Rich Harden asked for and was granted his release from the Twins organization, tweets Dustin Morse, Director of Baseball Communications and Player Relations for the club. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets Harden's contract contained an opt-out date of July 31, if he wasn't placed on the 25-man roster by then.
  • The Astros announced that they have released shortstop Ronny Cedeno.  He will be free to sign with another club once he clears unconditional release waivers tomorrow.  Cedeno, who was designated for assignment last week, was hitting .220/.260/.298 in 155 plate appearances for Houston.  

Edward Creech contributed to this post.



Quick Hits: Stanton, Twins, Harden, Strasburg

Earlier today, Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes reflected on his short time in Miami and told reporters that he feels sorry for former Marlins teammate Giancarlo Stanton.  "What is there to feel sorry for me about?," Stanton told the press, including Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. "I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living."  Stanton went on to say that he won't pout about his situation this season, but that won't stop people from speculating about his future in Miami.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • If the Indians decide to trade outfielder Drew StubbsTwins general manager Terry Ryan will probably get a nudge from special assistant Wayne Krivsky, writes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.  During his tenure as Reds general manager, Krivsky had a hand in taking Stubbs eighth overall in the 2006 draft.
  • More from Wolfson, who tweets that Rich Harden will earn a $1MM base salary if he makes the Twins.  Harden inked a minor league deal with a big league spring training invite with Minnesota earlier this offseason.
  • Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg is eager to prove that he can handle a full 200-plus inning load, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports in a lengthy piece.  Strasburg wants to “be the horse in the rotation” for 2013 and beyond.
  • Recently-acquired Astro Chris Carter told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart that he is looking forward to playing a major role on the rebuilding Houston club.  The 26-year-old Carter is coming off of his first season of consistent playing time on a Major League roster, a 2012 campaign in which he hit 16 home runs for the Athletics over 260 plate appearances.  While Carter was primarily a first-baseman for the A's, McTaggart writes that Carter figures to see a lot of time in the outfield in 2013.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.



AL Central Notes: Bourn, White Sox, Campana, Harden

Here's the latest from the AL Central...

  • The Indians offered Michael Bourn a deal in November worth roughly as much as the four-year, $44MM offer the team eventually made to Shane Victorino, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  Victorino rejected the Tribe to sign with Boston, but Bourn eventually ended up taking a similar offer (four years/$48MM with a $12MM vesting option on a fifth year) from the Indians once a larger contract failed to materialize on the open market.  Cleveland's ownership was willing to make the signing since Bourn's deal is backloaded and the Indians will be receiving extra money from a new TV contract.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn likes his young catching corps and doesn't believe the team needs to add a veteran catcher to the mix, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports.  Tyler Flowers is slated to be Chicago's everyday catcher, with Hector Gimenez as the backup and non-roster invitee Bryan Anderson also present in camp.  The three catchers have a combined 337 Major League at-bats.
  • The White Sox haven't spoken to the Cubs about outfielder Tony Campana, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine reports.  Campana was designated for assignment by the Cubs earlier this week and was claimed on waivers by the White Sox last August before the Cubs pulled him back.  The Pale Hose are known to be looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder, though Campana is better known for his speed (54-for-59 in steals over the last two seasons) than his bat (.605 OPS in 347 career PA).
  • Rich Harden tells MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that he was determined to keep playing and didn't consider retirement after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in January 2012.  Harden is trying to revive his career in Minnesota after signing a minor league deal with the Twins two months ago.
  • In other AL Central news from earlier today, the Twins signed Rafael Perez to a minor league contract.



Twins Notes: Myers, Harden, Alvarez, Diaz, Gomez

Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson...

  • The Twins had numerous discussions with Brett Myers before the right-hander signed with the Indians, but they never made him an offer.
  • Rich Harden's minor league contract with Minnesota includes a July 31st opt-out date according to Wolfson. The right-hander can elect free agency if he's not added to the big league roster by then.
  • The Twins will have a scout on hand to watch outfielder Dariel Alvarez and infielder Aledmys Diaz tomorrow. The two Cuban defectors are hosting a workout for teams.
  • The club has had "brief talks" with free agent outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Scott Podsednik after trading both Ben Revere and Denard Span this offseason.
  • The Twins have talked about Brent Lillibridge and Yuniesky Betancourt, but they're likely to sign elsewhere. Minnesota also has interest in Brandon Inge.
  • The Indians have reached out to several teams about Jeanmar Gomez, including the Twins. Gomez was designated for assignment earlier this week and Cleveland has ten days to trade, release, or waive him.



Central Notes: White Sox, Floyd, Brewers, Lohse

Items out of the AL and NL Central..

  • The White Sox are looking around for a left-handed hitter, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).  The club has also made it known once again that Gavin Floyd is available.  Interest in the right-hander is said to be high and the Orioles are one of the clubs who have him on the radar.
  • It doesn't sound like the Brewers are going to be making a run at Kyle Lohse after GM Doug Melvin explained that the team is "getting down to the end" of adding players, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets.  Lohse looks to be the top starter available following Edwin Jackson's four-year deal with the Cubs.
  • Twins General Manager Terry Ryan isn't sure if Rich Harden will be slotted in as a starter or a reliever, tweets Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.  “It depends on how he responds. We could go either way with him," said the GM.  Harden signed a minor league deal with Minnesota this morning that includes a MLB spring training invite.



Twins Sign Rich Harden

The Twins have signed free agent starter Rich Harden to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced. Wasserman Media Group represents Harden, who missed the entire 2012 season with a right shoulder strain. The right-hander underwent shoulder surgery to repair his right rotator cuff in January.

Harden last pitched at the MLB level in 2011, posting a 5.12 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 82 2/3 innings for the Athletics. If healthy, the 31-year-old would join a number of other newcomers in a rotation that's been remodeled in the past two months. GM Terry Ryan has also acquired starters Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey and prospect Alex Meyer this offseason.

Harden achieved considerable success early on in his career, posting a 3.99 ERA in 189 2/3 innings in his age-22 season. He continued to strike out opposing hitters at an impressive rate, but soon sustained shoulder and oblique injuries. The Victoria, British Columbia native has not qualified for the ERA title since his first full season with the A's, back in 2004.



Twins Interested In Rich Harden

The Twins were in contact with the agent for free agent pitcher Rich Harden, sources tell La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune.  The right-hander is represented by Brett Laurvick of the Wasserman Media Group.

Harden, who has been hampered by injuries in recent years, is attempting a comeback after missing the 2012 season.  Harden would likely sign a minor league deal and be invited to major league spring training. It's not clear at this time if the veteran is attempting to come back as a starter or a reliever.  The situation, according to Neal, is heating up quickly.

Harden spent the 2011 season with the A's and posted a 5.12 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 starts.  The 31-year-old also missed the bulk of the 2006 and 2007 seasons due to injury.



Rich Harden, Brandon Webb To Pitch In 2013

Pitchers Rich Harden and Brandon Webb both plan to return to pitching in 2013, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links).  Harden missed the 2012 season after undergoing shoulder surgery while Webb has not thrown a pitch in the majors since 2009.

Harden's agent agent Brett Laurvick told Morosi that there is "a lot of interest" from clubs in his client.  The right-hander spent the 2011 season with the Athletics and posted a 5.12 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 starts.  The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries in the past, having missed the bulk of the 2006 and '07 seasons.

Webb, 33, has dealt with multiple shoulder injuries over the last few years.  The 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Rangers prior to the 2011 season but never made it to the mound.  For his career, Webb owns a 3.27 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.









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