Buzz: Harden, Silva
I’ll admit to being slightly late on these tidbits, but feel they should be covered.
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:
- Front shoulder flies open, putting significant strain on right shoulder.
- 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.)
- 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 OnBaseball.com.
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.