Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Rich Harden Dilemma

As a Rich Harden owner, I am basking in the glow of his dominant performance against the Phillies this afternoon, but I'm sure many fantasy owners are wondering if it's time to sell high. The obvious answer is yes, but I'm not trying to move him. I've had an unhealthy relationship with Rich for awhile and I own him in almost every league I'm in. I've actually made an offer on him in the one league where I don't own him, and I had someone offer me Justin Duchscereherhrrehrer for him straight up in another league. (I pushed the "reject" button with my middle finger by the way.) The point is, right now I don't think anyone knows exactly what to do with Rich Harden.

He's made nine consecutive starts for the first time since 2005 and he's pitching like the ace everyone knew he could be if he could just stay healthy. But as Brandt posted earlier tonight, his arm actually may fall off mid-inning any day now. The guy is so fragile he makes Bobby Crosby look like Cal Ripken. Earlier this year when the A's flew to Japan I was actually nervous about how my Rich would handle the plane ride. What's to prevent him from getting a stiff neck? Then when he came back from his DL stint earlier this season he had a goatee, and all I could think about was whether or not the new facial hair could lead to some sort of rash or shaving incident that would leave him incapacitated. This is what owning Rich Harden for 4 years does do to you.

The reason I'm not moving him (other than the obvious man-crush) is that I don't think you'll get value for him. For example, I don't think you'll get an elite pitcher in return for him. Why would someone send you a top-tier pitcher for a guy who is more fragile physically than Zach Grienke is emotionally? Hey, if you can get Roy Halladay for Harden, do it, but the offers are going to be more like the one I got earlier. You'll get offers like the Douche Hammer or Ryan Dempster or, if your lucky, Joe Saunders. And I wouldn't take any of those guys over Harden. I'd much rather have a guy that, if healthy, can go on a run to take your team to the promised land, than less talented guys who will give you innings and decent numbers. Those guys are easily replaceable by working the waiver wire, but a healthy Harden is not. Also, if you own Harden you probably didn't have to pay too much to get him. I took him in the 9th round of a 12-team points league, which may have been a round too high, but it's not too bad for the upside of Harden. Bottom line is unless someone offers you something too good to pass up, I'd just hang on and enjoy the ride, understanding that he probably will break your heart. Again.

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