Aaron Harang Agrees to Minor League Deal, Spring Training Invite
Always on the hunt for more pitching depth, the Cleveland Indians came to terms with veteran right-hander Aaron Harang on Saturday. The minor league deal, which includes an invitation to spring training, gives the Tribe yet another experienced arm to compete for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation. He will compete with Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer, and Shaun Marcum.
At age 35, Harang is definitely past his prime as a major league pitcher. At this point, he is simply looking to catch on somewhere, make a positive contribution, and hang around as long as possible. For the Indians, that’s a positive because he will be motivated to do well. However, it’s a question as to whether or not his body and arm can keep up with his determination. That said, what can we reasonably expect from Aaron Harang?
Well, over the course of his 12 year career, Harang has posted a record of 110 and 116 with a 4.28, 1.352 WHIP, and 7.3 SO/9. As his record would indicate, Harang has had his ups and downs throughout his career. During his peak as the ace of the Reds in 2006 and 2007, he went 32-17 with a 3.75 ERA and 124 ERA+. In 2007 he was even under consideration for the NL Cy Young Award, coming in fourth. However, he followed that up in 2008 and 2009 with a record of 12-31, 4.52 ERA, and 95 ERA+. He bounced back with the Padres in 2011. Pitching in the pitcher friendly Petco Park, Harang went 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA.
Since 2011, Harang has bounced around a bit. He spent 2012 with the Dodgers where he was a solid 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA. Then last year, the majority of which was spent with the Mariners, Harang made 22 starts and limped to a 5-11 record with an ERA well over 5.00. He was then released by the Mariners on August 31, and picked up by the Mets, where he pitched well in four September starts.
So what version of Aaron Harang can the Indians expect? It’s hard to say. At 35-years-old there is no guarantee which version of the right-hander will show up. If his September starts are any indication, the Indians could expect and innings eater with solid control who could fill in nicely in the fifth spot in the rotation. We could also see the version that struggles with his command and gets roughed up.
The one thing he does have going for him is a chance to work with Mickey Callaway. We’ve seen what he could do with Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir. Does he have any more tricks up his sleeve to help Harang? Let’s hope.