The Bank Is Closed...

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What's up, brohamulus?

A clean-shaven Rich Harden completely owned the Phillies today. He pitched 8 innings of 2-hit ball, struck out a career-high 11, and threw under 100 pitches. This was his ninth straight start since coming off the DL. I know, I can't believe it either. This is the first time he's done this in 3 years.

This brings up an interesting question: If an offer comes in for Harden, do you trade him? I've heard that GMs have been afraid of his injury history (and hell, I don't blame them. When Harden threw over 100 pitches in one of his recent starts, I was screaming at Gamecast for Geren to pull him because I was so nervous he'd hurt himself. Side question: Is it normal to yell at Gamecast?) . However, now that he's pitching really well (7 of the 9 starts he's made since coming off the DL have been quality starts, and he has 2.15 ERA), I'm wondering if he'll make a good consolation prize to the team who loses out on C.C. Sabathia. You think that the Rays and the Red Sox look good now? Imagine what they'd be like with a healthy Harden.

Did I just put "Rays" and "good" in the same sentence? Wow. I need a minute. Look at this picture of a surly Bobby Crosby while I gather my thoughts:

Ok - I'm fine now. Anyway, if Beane gets a good offer for Harden, should he trade him? Let's look at some of the pros and cons:

The pros: Rich Harden has been a walking DL stint for years. If the A's could unload him now for a decent package, it could be a repeat of the Mulder deal. And as a fan, I have to say it has been frustrating to ride the "Will Rich Harden stay healthy?" roller coaster.

The cons: What if this is it for Harden? What if he's overcome whatever injury issues he's been having and is finally truly healthy? After all, maybe he kept getting hurt all these years because he was pushing himself to come back too early, and now that the A's have plenty of pitching, there was no pressure for him to come back ASAP from his most recent DL stint. Also, if the A's are looking to compete in the next couple of years, having Harden around would make that a lot easier.

I am torn on this one. I love Rich Harden, and when he's healthy, his stuff is fantastic. However, after watching him go on the DL a million times, part of me still can't trust that he's completely healthy. I keep expecting to read that Harden's shoulder was bothering him after his last outing, and he'll miss his next scheduled start. And we're not exactly starved for pitching - we've got some good pitching prospects in the minors, and Chad Gaudin in the bullpen. So if we could get any kind of offensive power in a trade, it might really help the team. But then again, good pitching beats good hitting. But then again, the A's have lost more than their share of close games due to quiet bats (ask Joe Blanton).

As you can tell, I'm undecided. I'll have to think about it some more. So I'll just end this post with another ridiculous picture of Bobby Crosby...