Buzz: Harden, Silva

I’ll admit to being slightly late on these tidbits, but feel they should be covered.

Rich Harden

MetsBlog deciphered from a recent Oakland A’s Mailbag that Rich Harden would be traded before Danny Haren or Joe Blanton. However, after reading the A’s Mailbag, it appears to me that trading Harden is the opinion of beat writer Mychael Urban rather than buzz based on “inside info”. So I wouldn’t necessarily read anything into it — and Billy Beane would never be silly enough to publicly put any of his players on the block. But, Harden was mentioned in Mets rumors last winter, and likely will be on the market again.

I’d love for the Mets to get a talent like Harden, but my gut says that he’s another Mark Prior, and will never be healthy enough to make a significant contribution. Unfortunately, my eyes tell me the same thing. Check out Carlos Gomez’s (a different Carlos Gomez) article at Hardball Times titled Bringin’ Some Serious Cheese. Gomez does an outstanding job of breaking down Harden’s delivery, complete with slo-mo video frames of it from several angles. While I don’t 100% agree with all that Gomez says, I do agree with much of it, and also see significant problems with Harden’s delivery. The three biggest issues I see are:

  1. Front shoulder flies open, putting significant strain on right shoulder.
  2. Carries the ball too long in his glove, causing ball to lag behind body. So his forward momentum is going and his arm has to work extra-hard to catch up. (Gomez blames this on focusing on the balance point and stopping his momentum; I see it as needing to get the ball out of the glove earlier — semantics.)
  3. Remains upright after release, cutting off follow-through. This puts a lot of strain of the deceleration process on the shoulder, rather than allowing the rest of the body to absorb some of the impact.

Based on Gomez’s videos, and my analysis, it’s no wonder that Harden has chronic shoulder issues. That said, he’d need to make substantial changes to his pitching mechanics in order to be consistently healthy — something next to impossible for a 25-year-old. However, it’s been done before — Roger Clemens made tweaks to his delivery in the late 1980s (after several arm injuries), and he turned out OK.

Shameless plug: Oh, and if you think I know something about pitching, and are interested in learning more (or getting lessons), visit

Carlos Silva

According to “Shooter” Charley Walters of Minnesota’s Pioneer Press (btw can you imagine a NYC beat writer going by the nickname “Shooter” ?), Carlos Silva is seeking a 4-year contract (hat tip to MLBTradeRumors). Per “Shooter”:

“A little birdie says the Twins have offered free-agent pitcher Carlos Silva a three-year deal worth slightly more than $7 million a season. Silva, however, wants at least one more year on a contract.”

If that’s true — and if all Silva is looking for is a 4-year deal worth something under $30M — then this is a no-brainer for the Mets. He is exactly the type of workhorse the Mets can use in the middle of their rotation, and will be only 29 at the start of the 2008 season. Further, I sincerely believe he’ll enjoy slightly improved performance in the National League and in the pitcher-friendly confines of grass-lined Shea Stadium. Silva had some pretty good years in Minnesota in the past, despite being a sinkerballer on turf in a hitter’s park. He throws tons of strikes and would easily be a steady 6-7-inning, #3 or #4 starter. No, he’s not Johan, he’s not Oswalt, and he’s not Beckett — but the Mets need a guy who can eat up the innings effectively (as opposed to the way Steve Trachsel used to eat up innings). Considering that schleps like Gil Meche and Jeff Suppan received $40M contracts last winter, Silva is a great value at under $30M — I’d take him over those other two in a heartbeat.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude October 25, 2007 at 5:24 pm
    This article will be of particular interest to Mic:

  2. sincekindergarten October 25, 2007 at 5:26 pm
    Silva for 4 years and $30 mil? I would have thought 4 years and $48 mil. Sign him!
  3. isuzudude October 25, 2007 at 5:29 pm
    does the twins offering silva a 3-yr, $21 million contract count as offering him arbitration, meaning the forfeiture of a Mets draft pick?
  4. joe October 25, 2007 at 5:38 pm
    No, there is an official filing for arbitration. The GREAT thing is that it appears Silva is considered a “Type B” — not sure how or why — which means it would cost the Mets a second round or supplemental pick rather than first round. I think.

    BTW I am SHOCKED that the Twins picked up Nathan’s option 😉

  5. Micalpalyn October 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm
    Hey, you called it. Like you said if there is no extension the writing is on the wall (trade). But here’s a (poor) reply.

  6. joe October 25, 2007 at 10:12 pm
    Manny may make his way to Shea one of these days … hopefully before Sammy Sosa ever dons the orange and blue.

    It all depends on whether A-Rod opts out and the Bosox find a need to dump some salary …

    hey, I can dream, can’t I?

  7. skibolton October 26, 2007 at 10:00 am
    I’d rather see us go after jason jennings than silva. They’re the same type of pitcher, but jennings should come cheaper and for less years since he’s coming off of an injury. Plus, the guy can hit. Maybe offer bartolo colon a minor league deal with big time incentives and see if we can get a steal.
  8. joe October 26, 2007 at 10:11 am
    I like Jennings quite a bit but don’t like his health issues. I think Silva will outperform Jennings simply by switching leagues.

    I also would like to see the Mets pick up Colon — and think Minaya will definitely pursue him — but doubt highly that he’ll come as cheaply as you think. There are too many teams desperate for starting pitching that will offer him a guaranteed MLB contract.

  9. isuzudude October 26, 2007 at 10:43 am
    I agree with Joe on each front, although I’m not a fan of Jennings. I’ve talked about him before – too many walks, too high of a WHIP, and a history of arm trouble. He’ll likely command a major league contract, though, which means making him a part of our 2008 rotation, and I’m not comfortable with that at all. Even though he’ll come cheaper than Silva, if it’ll take under $30-million to sign Silva for 3 years than that’s a relative bargian in itself. And Silva can pretty much be penciled in to start in 30 games, with 180+ innings, and 10+ wins. Are the Mets really that hard-up for hitting to save money on Jennings because he’s a better batter than Silva?

    I also think Colon is getting nothing worse than a guarenteed 1-year contract from somebody. Would he accept to come to the Mets on a minor league deal knowing he has a solid chance at cracking the rotation and a good chance to win? Maybe. But if you’re Colon, and you’re likely in the final stages of a career, would you rather the $3-5 million to play for (let’s say) the Pirates, or play for chump change and hope to get called up to the Mets sometime during the year? Most teams know what to expect with Colon – a pitcher past his prime but still capable of throwing solid innings IF healthy – so he really has nothing to prove by playing in the minors. I could actually see him retiring and getting some R&R before signing a minor league contract.

  10. joe October 26, 2007 at 10:49 am
    R & R for Bartolo Colon sounds like a scary proposition. He’d get as big as an elephant and never fit through the front door to leave his house.
  11. Micalpalyn October 28, 2007 at 9:20 am
    The best thing i can come up with (isu) is that yes I like bartolo, but unlike 5 yrs ago when Duquette could have had him cheap, I dont see Omar taking a (big) risk with him.

    We need a healthy starter behind Pedro, in front of Ollie and Maine. With $$$$ reserved for Glavine (and Zito), $$$ saved from shawn Green who rumor says is West bound, I think omar throws $$$ at the right starter.

    I like Silva but see him more in the Traxx mold (14-12/ERA 4.2). I’d be more optimistic if Vazquez or Garland were to fit there.

    Then I’d slot El duque, Humber, Mulvey as my candidates for #5. (Rotating thru the yr…). I think pelfrey gets traded…ala Bannister, (and does well). I kinda see Mulvey as a Bobby Jones type.

    Per Omar’s track record, expect 2-3 vets also competing for #5.

  12. joe October 28, 2007 at 10:41 am
    Mic, I’m with you, but please adhere to the MetsToday rule of not mentioning Steve Tr*#%! ever again.

    how about Jon Lieber? if he’s healthy — which he should be — he could be a nice 180-inning guy at the back end.

  13. isuzudude October 28, 2007 at 11:45 am

    My stance is I don’t think Omar should take a chance on Colon. However, I side with the pack in believing Omar probably does have interest in Bartolo the Bloated and I wouldn’t be surprised if a contract is extended to him. Your comment about taking a big risk, though, I don’t get. 5 years ago (2003) Colon was making $8.2-mil and was coming off a 20-win season with Cleveland and Montreal combined. Because of those figures Colon was not going to be had cheaply. However, now he’s shell of his former self and can’t make it through 10 starts without getting hurt. I can’t see anymore than $3-mil worth those services…is that really that big of a risk? If (and it’s a big IF) Colon can win 10 games as our 5th starter, wouldn’t that $3-mil be well spent?

    I’m confused on your opinion on Silva, too. Are you trying to say that a 3-year, $28-mil contract to sign Silva is too high of a price to acquire a 14-game winner with a 4.20 ERA? Afterall, those are the stats you used to compare him to Trachsel (which I don’t agree with either, considering Trachsel is a pronounced flyball pitcher in the twilight of his career while Silva is 28 and is notorious for enducing groundballs). I’m not a big fan of Jon Garland – if you look at his stats, aside from W-L records, they’re all very similar to Silva. Yet, getting Garland, who is entering the walk-year of his contract at a hefty $12-mil rate, would likely cost us Pelfrey and another lower-level prospect – a much steeper cost than simply signing Silva and (perhaps) just giving up a supplemental draft pick. I’m for trading Pelfrey, don’t get me wrong, but I think we can do a lot better than Jon Garland. If you’re talking Javy Vazquez, you got my attention. He’s a much more established #2 starter, and still has 3 years left on his contract (not one of which is over $12-mil). It would take more to acquire him, but in my mind he’d be worth it. Still, I say because of his relative cheapness to obtain, Silva is the #1 target. But if he falls through or gets too pricey, then turn to your trading avenues and see if Vazquez, Bonderman, Burnett, or Blanton can be had.

    I’m with Joe, too. I like Lieber. But he’s of the Schilling-El Duque-Pedro-Colon mold, where you simply can’t expect him to be healthy all year. And because of that, he gets no more than a 1-year, $3-mil contract that may or may not be incentive laiden. And if he is brought in, like Mic said we also should bring in 2-3 other veterans that can occupy the back end of the rotation (BY Kim, Tomo Ohka, Matt Clement, Randy Wolf) if some other guys don’t pan out.

  14. Micalpalyn October 29, 2007 at 9:05 am
    Hi guys:

    Sorry to confuse u all, but i generate some commentary…:)

    A. Isu: U have the best memory-google skills, but as I remember when Colon was being off loaded by the Expos, the Mets hardly blinked. Then could have had him as a FA..again they balked. (So cheap as in no first rounder). To categorize my term ‘risk’ it isnot $$$, but the risk he may not even play, nevermind put up a full season. I think Leiber is similar.

    B. One of my criteria is the 200 IP that must be replaced if Glavine goes. Hence I like Vaz most (have for 2 yrs) and then i like Burnett (No i know 170 innings is unlikely), and Garland.