According to Fox Sports’ baseball guru Ken Rosenthal, the Minnesota Twins have expressed interest in acquiring starting pitcher Aaron Harang to bolster their rotation. Even though Harang was acquired by the Colorado Rockies in exchange for catcher Ramon Hernandez on Saturday, the team had no intention of keeping the right-hander and instead would like to trade him for additional roster help. It also looks to be a salary related move by the Rockies, as Harang is scheduled to earn $7 million this season compared to Hernandez who was earning $3.2 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies also received $4.25 million from the Dodgers in the deal, according to CBSSports.com.
The Twins are an interesting potential landing spot for Harang simply because the team already has a glut of pitching options, but none of them are established or healthy. Scott Diamond is slated to return to the rotation relatively soon and World Baseball Classic standout Samuel Deduno is inching close to a potential return soon as well. Combine those two with the pool of Cole De Vries, Liam Hendriks and Rich Harden and the Twins have extensive—yet injury and struggle prone—pitching options to choose from. However, none of the pitchers listed above—other than Harden—has the established pitching career that Harang has accumulated.
Harang is 34 years old and was 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA in 31 starts last year. For his career, Harang is 105-104 with a 4.19 ERA in 11 seasons. I will not argue that Harang could improve the Twins’ pitching staff this season, but I do wonder why they are interested in acquiring a pitcher—and additional salary—this early in the season. Thus, the question to ponder is this: would the Twins be interested in acquiring Harang if they hadn’t started out 4-2?
It is a blessing and a great story that the Twins have started out so well, but would it make sense for the organization to make a knee-jerk response and acquire additional salary in an attempt to make a run at success this season? It all depends what the asking price is going to be from the Rockies. If the Twins only have to give up a player that they do not foresee being part of this franchise long-term, then I fully endorse the move. If the trade requires the team to part with a player who could help them down the line, if not this season, I would say to stay away from this deal.
The Rockies have designated Harang for assignment which means the team has 10 days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors. However, if the Twins continue to perform well before the 10 day period has expired, is there really any need to trade for Harang? I believe the answer to that is no because in order to get Harang, the Twins will likely have to give up a player who can help them down the line. In the end, the decision to acquire Harang will depend on how confident and comfortable the Twins are with the pitchers they currently have on their roster.
If the Twins do make a move to acquire Harang, it signals that the team believes it can compete in 2013 and wants to make a run at the playoffs. Yet, the question I still come back to is this: is this a necessary move and will it help the team in the long-term? In my opinion, the answer is no; but the decision isn’t up to me. Twins’ General Manager Terry Ryan, you be the judge.