The Dust Settles & Rich Harden Remains A Cub

Rich Harden will be making his scheduled start against Roy Oswalt and the Houston Astros after all.

Harden, who was placed on waivers and claimed by the Minnesota Twins, will remain a Cub for the rest of the season as the two teams were unable to strike a deal.  Somehow, the Cubs are only 5 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card spot, which would require a miracle for the North Siders to capture.

Long story, short: There's nothing to see here until November, when the Cubs will have 15 days of exclusive negotiating rights to re-up with the very talented righty.

The Cubs' options are simple:
  • Re-sign Harden to a multi-year deal.
  • Offer him salary arbitration, collect two picks when he signs elsewhere
  • Decline arbitration, collect nothing when he signs elsewhere.
In a year muddled by Milton Bradley's lunacy injuries, Harden has stayed relatively healthy.  Despite a stint on the DL early in the season, Harden has really turned it on in the second half with a 3-1 record, 1.80 earned run average, a 0.82 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 50 innings of work.

Kinda makes you forget about his 5-6 start to the season, in which he posted a 5.47 ERA and 1.541 WHIP.

Overall, Harden is 13-8 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 232 strikeouts in 195 innings.

Based on those numbers, and the fact that it is a very shallow market when it comes to free-agent starting pitchers, the Cubs should pull out all the stops to re-sign Harden.  This is a franchise that threw $52 million at Ryan Dempster after one good year as a starter, why wouldn't they re-sign someone with a good track record despite a past that has (at times) been plagued by injury.

In a somewhat related story, Aaron Heilman wasn't traded either.  As if you really cared about Aaron Heilman.