During the Winter Meetings, the Rangers traded Kevin Millwood and 3 M cash to the Orioles for 27 year old relief pitcher Chris Ray and the 3rd pick in the Rule 5 draft which was Benjamin Snyder, another pitcher. The Rangers owed Millwood 12 M in 2010, so by freeing up 9 M, they went for Rich Harden.
Last year Millwood started as our number one pitcher, but in the end Feldman was getting better results. Last season Mill had a 13-10 record, a 3.67 ERA, and 198 and 2/3 innings pitched. That’s not “ace” stuff, but he did eat some major innings for us, and that’s certainly not bad for Rangers’ standards either. You also have to take Millwood’s age as a factor. He’s about to turn 35 which means he’s past his prime.
So the Rangers signed the 28 year old free agent Rich Harden to a one year 6.5 M contract with 3.5 M in incentives based on innings pitched. Last year Harden was 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA and 171 Ks in 141 IP. This is definitely a gamble. When Harden is on, he has #1 stuff, he dominates. However, he has had a past of injuries and has only had one season of throwing more than 150 IP.
Rich Harden with GM John Daniels and team President Nolan Ryan