Monday, January 5, 2015

See ya, Aaron!

It's difficult to write this, but the Braves should have brought back Aaron Harang.

Those words shouldn't go together and by no means do I consider Harang the missing piece to anything, but for a team rebuilding for the future, Harang would have been a great fit. Wait, what? A pitcher that will turn 37 in May is a fit for the future? I'll get to that.

In case you haven't heard, the Phillies signed Harang to a 1 year, $5M contract Monday. The Phillies need starting pitching desperately and adding a veteran who has been fairly durable was a good move for them, though I can't say the same for Harang. He should be building on his 2014 success with the Braves, not potentially minimizing it by taking his flyball pitching profile to a park that historically gives up as many homers as any in the National League. That's not to say Philly is a huge hitter's park. We like to think it is because it plays small and gives up a lot of cheapies, but it's only minimally helpful for the hitter due to the massive alleys. Still, a guy who has historically carried a HR/9 over 1? Ask Joe Blanton how that works out.

Harang would have been better off in a park that doesn't hurt flyball pitchers. Like Turner Field. The Braves would have been better off, too. Look at the rotation Atlanta currently has. It's young and full of questions. Harang wouldn't have been a world beater, but he would have held down the fifth spot without putting undue pressure on Manny Banuelos.

Plus, on a similar one-year pact, the Braves might have been able to turn Harang into a player they can keep long term. If Harang was reasonably successful in the first half, he would have upped his trade value. With an inexpensive contract with no added years, contending teams in need of rotation depth would have been calling like I call the radio station when they are giving away tickets to go see Green Day. Now, granted, Harang won't bring in a top 100 guy, but a borderline C+/B- prospect? Seems realistic.

Nothing ventured, nothing lost, I suppose. And it's not like Harang possesses a particular set of skills that the Braves can't find in a different veteran starter, which they are rumored to have interest in obtaining. Just seemed like a good fit for a reunion. On the plus side, more Harang/Bartolo Colon matchups equals ratings so at least there's that to look forward to.

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