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Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Rich Harden Should Close For the Cubs

6

Rich Harden

Rich Harden Should Be the Next Cubs Closer

Before Kevin Gregg went all haywire on Saturday — and then again on Sunday– I said that the Cubs should move Rich Harden to the bullpen either as the closer or into the 8th inning set-up role. Some of the people on Twitter thought it was a dumb idea. But then Gregg blew 2 saves in spectacular fashion. I wonder how many think it’s a bad idea now?

The thinking behind it was this:

  • Gregg is not a shut down closer, and now his psyche may be questionable.
  • Harden can barely go 6 innings unless he is perfect.
  • Harden is always a step away from the DL.
  • Samardzija has no business being in the majors right now.
  • Marmol and Heilman must have a bet as to who can walk the most batters, or who will give Lou a heart attack first.
  • How many times do you need a 5th starter the rest of the way?

And that was all before Gregg got shelled. Unless Hendry gets some reliever that sneaks through waivers, the Cubs pen needs help – badly. And it’s not as if Harden has been lights out as a starter either, although lately he has done very well.

Even so, I can see him blowing away hitters in the 9th — a true closer. I’d love to see it. What say you Cubs fans?

  • http://chicagosportstoday.com Joe

    I’m not a fan of the idea. It seems like a waste to move Harden to the closing role, even though as you said he can barely go 6 innings as a starter. But right now with Lilly on the DL, we need all the starters we can get.

    I will say this though, it isn’t the worst idea in the world if he continues to not make it past 5 innings.

  • http://www.i94sports.com rex jaybels

    My concern would be how often Harden would be available. Would he be able to go on back to back days? I think he’s too fragile for that kind of work.

  • dhaab

    Hmmm…try to turn a guy who’s never pitched in relief into a closer right in the middle of the season. I’m going to say not a good idea.

    You really don’t give us any reasons why you think Harden can be a shutdown closer. He’s barely able to pitch every 5 days now and you want him to pitch 3 to 5 times per week?

  • http://zonersports.com Zoner

    “try to turn a guy who’s never pitched in relief into a closer right in the middle of the season. I’m going to say not a good idea.”

    I’ll let you think about that one — because it’s been done before.

    He would be a shutdown closer because he strikes out more than 1 per inning and he blows away hitters. I thought that was fairly evident. He also doesn’t walk many. He would definitely be able to do it. If Wood could do it, Harden sure can. Don’t forget that as starters these guys throw on the side during the week too. That would go away.

    If anything it would prolong his career.

  • dhaab

    I’m not saying he couldn’t do it, just that it would screw things up when Harden inevitably gets hurt yet again in the next month. The entire bullpen will have to be re-shuffled when that happens. And Harden’s track record says that it will happen.

  • http://www.teamschwag.com/ Andrew

    It’s worked with Kerry Wood in the past. However, this move should definitely be made in spring training if the Cubs add another starter. Marmol, Gregg, and Harden at the back end of the games is definitely more intimidating than just Gregg and Marmol trying to squeeze out wins.

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