Notes from the Net - 6/5/2007

I've added SportLine to my regular sports reading, and I've been quite pleased with it. It fills a hole in my baseball reading that I've been missing more and more as ESPN attempts to lock down their site one article and one writer at a time. Sure, I'll continue to use the WWL for player stats (thanks largely to their brilliant splits) for the current year, and Baseball Reference for almost any other stats, but the player news replicates the sort of Gammons columns I used to be able to read.

One very interesting note was that the A's are pondering using Rich Harden as a reliever. Now, this sort of thing has already been done in the majors once this year with mixed results (Myers in Philly), but this is an idea I've heard floated once before. I remember an article on the Hardball Times from a ways back about swapping Harden with one of the relief men - but as usual I can't find the article since the search function for HBT is almost useless. This is a tangent, but it is a travesty that a site with the quality information and analysis of Hardball Times doesn't tag each and every one of their pages in a comprehensive manner. In these heady days of Web 2.0 (god I hate that phrase) it's a joke that it's not easier to use the archives at a site that is at the bedrock of the baseball net.

Anyway, the Harden move will be complicated by the fact that middle relievers, even great ones, don't make what starters do. Street is still considered the closer for the team, and injury risk closers don't fetch a lot on the market. Considering that Harden won't have a real shot at the closer job, his bottom line alone would lead him to oppose the move. However, for a pitcher that's never reached 190 innings in a season and is a regular on the DL, the chance to improve his longevity in the game, coupled with a possible trade of a resurgent Street in the offseason, could pave the way for him to move to the pen. A friend of mine has Myers in our fantasy league and is convinced that the new stress of pitching back-to-back days as a set-up man and then as closer is to blame for his injury, and I tend to agree with him. Certain pitchers seem to handle certain roles differently, so this could be just what he needs.

Or, it could just be the devious A's trying to plug their holes until the pen gets healthy. Both sound like A's thinking to me.

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