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Use Rich to get Richer?

OK, here’s my question? Do the A’s trade Rich Harden? Dominant again today in a win over Philadelphia. Always a guy who leaves you wondering if the next pitch will be his last.

I’ve been pondering this question for, oh, about two years now and after much thought and research and many questions, I have the same answer now that I did then: I don’t know.

On the one hand, he’s the single biggest trade chip the A’s could put on the market. And if Billy Beane got such impressive talent for Dan Haren, and an emerging stud for Nick Swisher, imagine what he could pilfer for Harden.

On the other, the A’s continue to hang around the wild-card race, and the addition of another stud pitcher — C.C. Sabathia anyone? — could ensure their season-long presence in the race. And, should the A’s stun the masses and get into the playoffs, Harden can win a series by himself.

Peter Gammons breaks it down pretty well on his ESPN blog. What is Beane going to do? What would you do? 

rhurd

  • Bee

    Yeah, it’s a tough decision since we lack a crystal ball that actually tells the future. I think we wait and see how the team does until the week before the deadline. If it looks like we are in the hunt still (and I hope we are), then we keep Harden. If we start losing gound, then maybe trade him for some more hot prospects. We have 2 series against the Angels between now and the All Star Break. That will tell a lot, and I certainly want Harden pitching in both those series.

    I tried to sign up for Peter Gammons blog on ESPN.com and they want $7/month to subscribe. I think that’s pretty chincey, but people will pay it, I guess.

    Looking forward to the Giants this weekend. Go A’s!!!

  • Steve Toomajian

    Rich Harden is such a freak, I don’t trade him. Even if future injuries put him on the DL once or twice per season, I still don’t trade him. He is so dominant that I’d be willing to accept whatever he could give me, even at limited availability.

  • DEATHbyTATUM

    Before he came back from the DL this year, I was saying trade him because we showed we could win without him. Now that he is back and completely dominating, I want to hang onto this guy and give him a new contract. If you look at the players we got in the Harden/Swisher/Kotsay deals, we have guys who are ready to play now. They are turning some heads but we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg with player like Gonzales and Smith. This guys will start to come into their own in a year or two and we will challenge the West again. Sure we could get a load of young talent for him but we are stock piled in that department.

  • AsFan

    The 3-part trick:
    1. Win Wild Card or Division
    2. Win in the playoffs
    3. Win the World Series
    Getting to the 1st round of the playoffs is not that big a deal. The A’s might luck into it as is: a pitching and defense only team.
    To win the first round the A’s would have to beat a top team with an offense to go with their own P&D. One and out is what the A’s are built for today. Sunday vs the Giants the A’s sent guys to the plate hitting 185, 223, 226, 237, 238, 239, 242, 249, 253, 257 & 284-Suzuki! That offense is offensive in the wrong way! 2 games = 1 run. Predictable.
    Frank & Sweeney will return and Buck, if healthy, improves all statlines over the options. A healthy Chavez looks a season away. To be honest Chavez can’t bend and should be at 1B on a modified workload in keeping with current abilities. Chavez can suck up his pride long enough to get the A’s over the hump. He needs to think about the teams best interests here.
    Barton needs to learn his craft at AAA or AA, he is only 22!
    (Garland just threw chin music at Suzuki our best hitter at 284. Make him pay! Damn! …and Cust provided the ground out. LOL Cust can hit fastballs OK but just fans the air with his bat on anything else. If he’d change his stance and swing after 2 strikes to dink the ball over the infield he could become an exciting player right now, Edgar Martinez where are you?)
    The A’s playoffs chances improve greatly with a Milton Bradley type #3 in the line ups but what team will accept our spare players/prospects?

    An improved line up for the playoffs might look like:
    #1 R Suzuki (C)
    #2 L Chavez (1B)
    #3 R Ellis (2B)
    #4 L Ryan S (CF)
    #5 R Frank (DH)
    #6 L Buck (RF)
    #7 R Brown (LF)
    #8 R Crosby (SS)
    #9 L Hannahan (3B)
    Reserves: Cust, Bowen, Rajai, Murphy,
    AAA = Barton, Carlos G (They must play everyday to improve)
    Back to trading Harden; Without Harden the A’s can’t win the Playoffs/World Series this or next year. Short series are won by players that can change a games outcome. On the A’s Duke, Harden & Frank are that type of player.
    Trading tact: I’d much prefer trading a prospect and taking on salary (Holiday rumors are spreading: 2 yrs $10 & $12 million. The A’s are sitting at $40-something and the playoffs go a far way to increasing revenues this year and next, Holiday earns $5 million the remainder of ’08 and that would mean little overall) I don’t watch Holiday much but his 3 year splits are screaming “Billy! Over here! LOL)

    This IS a playoffs lineup.

    #1 R Suzuki (C)
    #2 L Chavez (1B)
    #3 R Holliday (LF)
    #4 L Ryan S (CF)
    #5 R Frank (DH)
    #6 L Buck (RF)
    #7 R Ellis (2B)
    #8 R Crosby (SS)
    #9 L Hannahan (3B)

    The thing is you want Duke and harden for any playoffs so you are reaching into our prospects, Rox scouts were at the A’s-Phils Series. :)
    Would you trade Sweeney or Carlos G? What about Smith or Eveland?

    I for one want a playoffs challenger.

  • DEATHbyTATUM

    Chavez playing 1st in the 2 hole??!! Man, what world are you from? If Chavez can barely bend over, what makes you think he will do the splits to dig one out(because we all know Hannahan is a throwing error waiting to happen)? If anything, Gonzales should be in the 2 hole…you dont even have him in the lineup! You need speed at the #1 and yes, Kurt isn’t slow…he isn’t a leadoff man. Here is my everyday lineup when Chavy is healthy:

    1.Gonzales(This guy has extra bases writen all over)
    2.R.Sweeney
    3.Crosby (Doubles machine)
    4.Thomas(DH)
    5.Chavez
    6.Cust
    7.Suzuki
    8.Ellis
    9.Barton

    Now, if Chavy is a little sore
    1.Gonzales
    2.R.Sweeney
    3.Crosby
    4.Thomas
    5.Cust
    6.Suzuki
    7.Hannahan
    8.Ellis
    9.Barton

    When Frank is healthy, he is too dangerous not to have in the lineup whenever he can play. He gets the nod over Chavez at DH for this simple fact. I wouldn’t trust Chavez at first any further than I would be able to throw Blanton.

    Trading for Holliday will hurt. I would not like to see us give up anyone but that’s how the business goes. A trade I would go for is sending Blanton, Landon Powell, and some of our AAA arms like Komine or Braden. The thing is, if we get Holliday, what will it do? Of course, we will be in playoff contention right away but how legit will we be with the Red Sox, Rays and now the Tigers all playing GREAT baseball(watch out for the White Sox too). I hate to say it but an A’s team with Holliday is maybe an ALCS berth.

    I would love to have Holliday and take a playoff run again, stunning the entire known world but we will pay dearly to have him. I for one am not ready to trade future superstars to have a so-so chance at making the ALCS. But then again, who am I? I could be totally wrong. In Beane we trust.

  • AsFan

    Death by Tatum, thanks for the great response!
    Chavez is on DL now where he belongs until he is ready to give AAA a more thorough try at a return that includes defense. The move to 1B was to save his arm/shoulder from 3B-1B throws and send Barton’s .224 average to AAA where it sadly belongs, …all academic now. As to batting Chavez 2nd his plate discipline has always been plus and his legs are healthy. I like my #9, #1 – 3 to have base stealing potential, #4 too when possible. Frank at 4 or 5 is the enforcer and will get a “shot” to win a lot of games in the 9th that way.
    Carlos G = playing everyday at AAA after pitchers made their adjustments and the A’s realized Sweeney hits a ton from CF already and Buck was destroying ERAs & fences at AAA. Starting Carlos’ arb clock one season later also figures into that equation.
    Holliday is an all star. I don’t think the A’s can lose with such a player with 2 years left. If they back slide in ’09 they can trade him for prospects similar to the ones they give up now. Esp. if LAA leave the A’s in the dust. If the A’s win and Holliday walks we get a type A compensation pick
    Reminder: No Frank in ’09 So Holliday is it unless Doolittle blazes through AA & AAA like I am hoping!

  • AsFan

    Oh yeah! ’08 Playoffs: If the season ended now:
    AL W = LAA
    AL C = WSox
    AL E = Rays,
    AL E WC = RSox, 2 games better in the loss column
    A’s will be in a battle royal but with the right pieces to go deep in the playoffs. I look at it like this: It will take years to get back in when Duke, Harden, and Ellis are gone.
    Forst should go for Holliday with so little to lose.