Rich Harden: Former A's Pitching Ace Returns To Oakland on 1-Year Deal

Jason KimCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:  Pitcher Rich Harden #40 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 29, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rich Harden rejoined his former team, the Oakland Athletics on a 1 year deal. The contract is known to be worth $1.5 million.

Harden, now 29 years of age, started his major league career at 21 with the Athletics.

He looked like he would have a bright future as the ace of the team after his 1st full season, collecting 11 wins and an ERA just under 4.00 back in 2004

But injuries limited him his time in Oakland, as he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2008. He did finish the year with an ERA of 2.07, but only started 25 games.

In fact, 2004 is still his only year of his career when he started at least 30 games.

Last year, with the AL Champion Texas Rangers, he had an ERA of 5.58, with limited time being healthy. He was designated for assignment this offseason after his poor performance.

Harden's 62 walks in 92.0 innings didn't help, either.

But Billy Beane's A's give him another shot: either it's as a reliever or a #5 starter. The #5 spot is still open, due to the fact that the team could not sign Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma this offseason, even after they had 30 days of exclusive negotiations. 

Perhaps he'll be a better pitcher as a reliever: using his fastball for 1 or 2 innings, and blow hitters away. It can also reduce his chance of injuries.

It will all be decided at spring training.