Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why not Harang?

Update: Harang signs with Padres for measly $3mil.  I think the M's missed the boat here.

For all of the problems the Mariners have on offense, and there are many, there's also this issue of run prevention from 60 feet 6 inches.

Right now, we're looking at some kid named Felix, and then in my opinion, we have about six options that all profile as back-end rotation options.  Vargas had a really nice year last year, but for reasons I'll have to get into in another post, it was a little smoke-and-mirrors.  Fister was actually in the top 10 in ERA for the first half, and yet I'm not sure he belongs on the big squad at all.  Hyphen obviously struggled mightily.  Pineda?  Yeah, super and all - but I'm not sure we should expect the moon in his first year, and there's this whole fickle thing of not being able to throw too many pitches as a youngster. Olson?  French?  Pauley? Let's be honest with ourselves.  This team needs at least two arms that are capable of a 2 win-above-replacement kind of season in order to give the 2011 Mariners any kind of shot at respectability and keeping assess in seats (along with a lot of luck and a pretty creative approach to their offense).

Aaron Harang is a free agent, and will probably be largely forgotten after losing 38 games over the last three years.  But it wasn't too long ago that Aaron Harang was considered an ace.  He posted a 5.4 WAR and 5.2 WAR in '06 and '07, respectively.  He definitely didn't get any favors when moving to Great American Ballpark, which severely inflates the rate of home runs (thanks Jack Moore of for the graph).

What has killed Harang is his flyball tendencies, high home run per fly ball rate, and last year - a severely low strand rate.  He hasn't lost any velocity on his fastball in the last four years, gets good movement on his offspeed pitches, and he has been far more effective than his record indicates.  In fact, he went 6-14 in 2009 with a 3.95 xFIP.  That's kind of silly.

Anyway, Harang needs a job.  Mariners need a pitcher.  Harang needs to revive his career, and there's only a few parks that he should be looking to do that in, and I'm not sure that the Padres have him in his plans.  While his win-loss record might not be a thing of beauty in Seattle, there's a darn good chance that he'd look like a fairly solid starter midway through the season, which would have the benefit of being good trade fodder for the M's, or heck, maybe help Harang secure a multi-year deal when the season ended.  He's just 33 headed into the year, so it's not like he's a relic looking for magic in a hat.

I think Harang would be a nice addition to the Mariners.  He should be cheap, we could ink him to a one year with options kind of deal that won't hamstring the squad or his flexibility given his performance, and he literally would be the second or third best starter the M's would have going into Spring.

If the price is right, I think he's a guy to keep in mind.  Not thrilling, but nice.  And plus, he would possibly give Jack Wilson a run for his money on the ugliest Mariner.


Nathan Hoover said...

I agree. The M's, for all their offensive woes last year, also need pitching in 2011. Harang would certainly fit.

I also advocate Rule 5-ing Lance Pendleton from the Yankees. I don't see why he couldn't out perform Pauley.

Michael said...

He also ought to be relatively cheap. Seems like signing Harang along with some kind of creative swap (Garza?) would set us up nicely for relatively little.

There's so much conversation about how the M's have so few "positions" to replace since we already have relative locks in CF, RF, 3b, 1b, SS, 2b, and C - nobody seems to want to mention the gaping holes in the rotation.

I like Pendleton. His K/9 rate fell off the table in AAA last year though, and I wonder if he was hurt. Can't find any news on it. He struggled with injuries earlier, it seems. Dude is already 26.