Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stock Rising: Aaron Harang

In our Top 100 Free Agents post last month, we included a picture of Aaron Harang; the caption said he'd be outstanding or terrible.

Breaking news out of the Friarhood (via MLBtraderumors) sounds like Harang and his agent have decided on what many believe is the perfect landing spot for any starting pitcher, San Diego.

From the the Friarhood's Administrator:
"An unamed source has confirmed that the Padres has come to terms with Starting Pitcher Aaron Harang pending physical."
I hope this unnamed source is correct, otherwise we may have a Dewey defeats Truman moment.

The Padres Sign Aaron Harang!

Last season was the worst in Aaron Harang's career.  Unfortunate peripheral stats by The Harangutan include career lows in strikeout rate (6.61 K/9), ERA+ (75), popups (7.8 IFFB%), and swinging strike percentage (8.1%) as well as career highs in ERA (5.32) and WHIP (1.59).  In addition to those numbers, Harang comes with more risk than an ideal free agent starting pitcher because of his recent injury history.

In the current market, however, Aaron Harang is not much riskier than most of the other guys on the list of available starting pitchers below.  If you were a General Manager, but could NOT afford Cliff Lee, whom would you invest in and how much would you be willing to pay to get him?

Best Starting Pitcher Free Agents
Is Jeff Francis another
risk worth taking?
Cliff Lee
Jeff Francis
Carl Pavano
Andy Pettitte
Scott Olsen
Brad Penny
Kevin Millwood
Jeremy Bonderman
Rich Harden
Bruce Chen
Freddy Garcia
Brandon Webb
Justin Duchscherer
Pedro Martinez
Dave Bush needs more movement
on his pitches than this to succeed.
Brian Bannister
Andrew Miller
Vicente Padilla
Jarrod Washburn
John Maine
Chien-Ming Wang
Todd Wellemeyer
Chris Young
Dave Bush
Rodrigo Lopez
Ian Snell
Doug Davis
Sometimes big lefties take
a while to figure things out.
Jeff Suppan
Brian Moehler
Braden Looper
Ryan Rowland-Smith

Andy Pettitte has one foot in the Yankee clubhouse and the other in a retirement home.  Just about everyone else on this list has an injury history as bad or worse than Aaron Harang.  We're beginning to think that Scott Olsen might be another hot stove hidden gem.  Andrew Miller as a free agent is pretty surprising, too.  It'll be interesting to see the reasoning as to why he was non tendered.  It should would be fun for anyone's favorite team to make a low-risk/high-reward Andrew Miller acquisition.  It would be nice if Jim Hendry had someone looking into it.

Bravo to Jed Hoyer and the Padres for getting a player with strikeout ability (career 7.5 K/9, Bill James 2011 projection: 7.5 K/9) who will benefit greatly, as a flyball pitcher, moving to cavernous Petco Park.  In 2005, '06, and '07, Aaron Harang had three consecutive seasons with an ERA under 3.85, while pitching half his games in the hitter's paradise, Great American Ballpark.

If Harang approacheshis preinjury level of success, he very likely may be the best value of the 2010/11 offseason.

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