Easy to Be Harden

Rich Harden just hit five years of MLB service time this past Sunday.

Why is that important?

Because Harden signed his current contract in April 2005 under the old CBA, he retains the arcane right to demand a trade after this season. That's because under the rules of the previous CBA, if a player is signed to a multi-year contract and has accrued at least five years of MLB service time when he is traded to another club, the player has the right to demand a trade during the post-World Series Free-Agency Filing Period that follows the season during which he is traded.

If Harden does choose to exercise his option to demand a trade after the 2008 season, and the Cubs don't trade him by March 15, 2009, he can become a totally unrestricted FA at that time (player option), although by exercising the option to be a FA under the aforementioned circumstances, Harden would be giving up his $7M salary for 2009 and the Cubs wouldn't owe him anything past this season. 

However, Harden will likely take this track only if he feels he can get more than $7M on the open market post-2008 (which he almost certainly would) and/or if he feels the Cubs are unlikely to offer him a contract extension post-2009 (still TBD).

So if the Cubs had acquired Harden this past Saturday instead of waiting until yesterday, they would absolutely control the rights to Rich Harden through the 2009 season ($7M salary in 2009), with a nice convenient club option (with no buy-out) following the 2008 season in case Harden blows out his shoulder or elbow before the end of the season.

But by waiting to acquire Harden until after he had accrued five seasons of MLB Service Time, the Cubs gave Harden the leverage to either force the Cubs to trade him post-2008, or else give him the option to be a FA one year earlier than he otherwise would have been eligible (but with no compensation draft picks).  

Of course the Cubs could always decline their $7M club option for 2009 before Harden has a chance to demand a trade, making Harden eligible for arbitration post-2008. But the Cubs are unlikely to do that unless they are fairly sure that Harden intends to exercise his right to demand a trade, because there is no way he gets less than $7M in arbitration. But if Harden were to sustain a significant shoulder or elbow injury sometime before the conclusion of the 2008 season, the Cubs probably would opt to decline their 2009 club option and non-tender him on 12/12 (as they did with Mark Prior last year).    

As a further ado and a point to begin thinking about roster moves into the All-Star Break and beyond, here is the updated projected post-2008 and Spring Training 2009 roster, contract, and option status for the 39 Cubs players presently on the 40-man roster and the one on the 60-day DL, and the updated lists of Cubs minor leaguers who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December and those who will be eligible to be minor league free-agents after the conclusion of the World Series:

 

ELIGIBLE TO BE FREE-AGENT AFTER 2008 SEASON:
Henry Blanco (club option with buy-out)
Ryan Dempster
Jim Edmonds
Scott Eyre
Chad Fox
Bob Howry
Jon Lieber
Daryle Ward
Kerry Wood

SIGNED FOR 2009:
Henry Blanco - $3M club option or $300K buy-out
Mark DeRosa - $5.5M
Kosuke Fukudome - $11.5M
Rich Harden - $7M club option or else eligible for arbitration, and player option to demand a trade
Derrek Lee - $13M
Ted Lilly - $12M
Jason Marquis - $9.875M
Aramis Ramirez - $15.65M
Jeff Samardzija - $1.3M (no minor league split) 
Alfonso Soriano - $16M
Carlos Zambrano - $17.75M

ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008:
Ronny Cedeno 
Neal Cotts
Chad Gaudin
Reed Johnson
Michael Wuertz

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) PLAYERS FOR 2009:

NOTE: 2009 MLB minimum salary will be $400K with a $65K minimum minor league split salary ($32.5K minimum minor league split for players with no MLB ST who are on the 40-man roster for the first time)

Jose Ascanio
Mike Fontenot
Jake Fox
Sam Fuld
Angel Guzman
Adam Harben
Kevin Hart
Rich Hlll
Micah Hoffpauir
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Billy Petrick
Felix Pie
Carmen Pignatiello
Geovany Soto
Ryan Theriot 

PROJECTED MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS - SPRING TRAINING 2009:

NOTE: Only players with less than five years of MLB Service Time projected post-2008 are listed, since players with five or more years of MLB Service Time post-2008 can refuse an optional assignment to the minors 

* Player must first clear Optional Assignment Waivers 

NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Ronny Cedeno 
Neal Cotts
Chad Gaudin
Angel Guzman
Rich Hill
Felix Pie
Geovany Soto 

ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
Jose Ascanio (see NOTE
* Mike Fontenot 
Jake Fox
Adam Harben 
Sean Marshall
Carlos Marmol
* Michael Wuertz  

NOTE: Jose Ascanio will have used three minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only four “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2009.  

TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
Sam Fuld
Kevin Hart
Micah Hoffpauir
Billy Petrick
(see NOTE)
Carmen Pignatiello
Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE)
* Ryan Theriot
NOTE: Billy Petrick will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only three “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons. 
Jeff Samardzija will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only two “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons. 

THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
NONE

FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Kosuke Fukudome

 

ELIGIBLE TO BE MINOR LEAGUE FA POST-2008:
Andres Blanco, SS
Jim Brower, RHP
Mike Burns, RHP
Hector Carrasco, RHP
Robinson Chirinos, C-IF
Matt Craig, 1B-3B
Jason Dubois, 1B-OF 
Doug Deeds, OF-1B
Danny Fatheree, C
Luis Figueroa, INF
Dumas Garcia, RHP
Koyie Hill, C
Josh Kroeger, OF
Leonel Perez, C
Bobby Scales, IF-OF
Andres Torres, OF
Randy Wells, RHP
NOTE: A player eligible to be a Minor League free-agent cannot be a FA if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by the end of the World Series. 

ELIGIBLE FOR DECEMBER 2008 RULE 5 DRAFT:
James Adduci, OF
Alberto Alburquerque, RHP
Mitch Atkins, RHP
Matt Avery, RHP
Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP 
Russ Canzler, 1B
Yusuf Carter, OF
Jeff Culpepper, OF
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Darin Downs, LHP
Jesse Estrada, RHP
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jim Henderson, RHP
Mark Holliman, RHP
Grant Johnson, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Casey McGehee, 3B-C
Mario Mercedes, C
Jonathan Mota, INF
Jake Muyco, RHP
Mike Phelps, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Mark Reed, C
Greg Reinhard, RHP
Kyle Reynolds, 3B-1B
Tony Richie, C
Chris Robinson, C
Jayson Ruhlman, LHP
Alvaro Sosa, C 
Nate Spears, 2B
Donald Veal, LHP
NOTE: Any minor league free-agent who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.

Comments

well ain't that a bit of a kick in the pants...

but as you noted, if he demands his trade during the FA period, the Cubs can just not pick up his option and have to pay him a little more (I'd guess in the $10MM range).

Arizona Phil.....it looks like the bats have come alive for the AZL Cubs this past week. With all the roster moves going on because of trades,have you heard who is moving up to Boise besides Kemp? Flores,Ridling,and Opitz moved on up to Peoria leaving three vacancies in Boise.Is there any news at all from Mesa? Thanks

Is there any news at all from Mesa?
============
this is from the Boise Hawks website:

Former Boise Hawks catcher, Josh Donaldson, was one of the four members of the Chicago Cubs sent to the Oakland Athletics as part of a blockbuster six-player trade, announced yesterday by Major League Baseball.

The move has also filtered down to the Hawks, who made multiple roster moves prior to leaving for their five-game series in Eugene.

Catcher Luis Flores, along with first-baseman Rebel Ridling, and second-baseman Jake Opitz, were all promoted to the Peoria Chiefs in the Midwest League. Of the three, Ridling's departure will hurt the Hawks the most, as he ranks among the Northwest League's best in batting average, home runs, doubles, and RBI.

The Hawks, however, will have one player join their club from the rookie-level Mesa Cubs, middle-infielder Dwayne Kemp. Kemp, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, hit .283 this season in Mesa, after being signed by the Cubs out of Major League Baseball's European Academy. His father, Adonis, played for the Dutch baseball team in the 1996 Olympics.

If he demanded a trade, wouldn't the Cubs just trade him? I mean, assuming he's healthy and has pitched well the rest of the season, I would think some team would rather trade to get him at $7mil than compete for his services on the open market. I don't see how Rich could leverage the trade demand into more money.

Couldn't this be the very reason the A's finally let go of him? Better to be assured something now than gamble later on his leaving and a pick. Good stuff, AZ Phil. Haven't heard this mentioned anywhere else.

I believe the only way he can exercise his right to demand a trade is if he has already been traded to another team. So, if I'm reading correctly, he wouldn't be able to demand a trade if the A's had kept him.

I don't believe this is true for the case of Harden. Doesn't he have to pitch a certain amount of innings to have the season qualify for his major league service? In '06 he pitched 46.2 innings and in '07 he pitched only 25.2 innings. I can't believe that 7 games in '07 qualified him for a year of service.

According to Cot's he only has 4.074 years of ML service to date.
http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/chicago-c...

He had 4.074 entering the 2008 season, he has since accumulated the 100 or so days of service time this season to go over 5 (I believe 172 or 180 days makes a fully year). DL time counts towards service time.

If that is true that at most he would be at 3/4 of a season. With that giving him roughly 4.8 years of service at the time of the trade. So that is still under the 5 years that is being talked about. And with Hendry talking about having him under control for a year and a half I'm sure he has looked into it. I can't imagine with everyone looking into it before the trade that they would miss something like that. I am sure there was a fleet of contract lawyers looking over everything.

Fleet of contract lawyers = 5% of one Arizona Phil

what AZ Phil said (and I said)....

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2008/07/09/easy-be-h...

172 service days = 1 year of service time.

when you see 4.074 as a player's service time that means 4 years and 74 days. When you get to 172, you flip the year.

or what AZ Phil said...

Submitted by Hoosiercubsfan on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 10:14am.

If that is true that at most he would be at 3/4 of a season. With that giving him roughly 4.8 years of service at the time of the trade. So that is still under the 5 years that is being talked about. And with Hendry talking about having him under control for a year and a half I'm sure he has looked into it. I can't imagine with everyone looking into it before the trade that they would miss something like that. I am sure there was a fleet of contract lawyers looking over everything.

====================================

HOOSIER: Harden came into the season with 4+074 MLB service time.

2008 MLB Opening Day was March 31st, so that's one day of MLB ST accrued in March, 30 days in April, 31 days in May, 30 days in June, and six more days through July 6th (Sunday), for a total of 98 days of MLB ST accrued through this past Sunday. The 98 days are added to the 74 days accrued (above four years) prior to 2008 for a total of four years plus 172 days.

Although the MLB regular season is actually 182 days, per the CBA 172 days consititutes a "full season" for the purpose of determining MLB ST, and so a player can accrue no more than 172 days of MLB ST in a given season even if he spends the entire 182 days on a big league roster.

So 4+172 = 5+000

Also, time spent on an MLB 15-day or 60-day DL does accrue toward MLB ST, although time spent on a minor league DL does not (so even though Rich Hill, Billy Petrick, and Adam Harben are on the Cubs 40-man roster, they have not accrued MLB ST while on a minor league DL because they were on an optional assignment to the minors prior to being placed on the DL).

So Harden hit 4+171 MLB ST on Saturday, and the odometer flipped over to 5+000 on Sunday, making him eligible to demand a trade after the 2008 season if he were to be traded on Sunday 7/6 or any day after that this season (such as this past Monday 7/7).

BTW, not that this would have come into play, but getting to 5 years of MLB ST also means Harden can no longer be optioned to the minors without his permission (he had three minor league options left).

You may remember that the Cubs optioned Will Ohman to Iowa last August just before he hit 5 years of MLB ST. The Cubs also optioned Mark Prior to Iowa out of Spring Training 2007 about a month before he was to hit 5 years of MLB ST, although Prior's option was later voided by MLB after Prior filed a grievance claiming that he had a "pre-existing" injury prior to being optioned to the minors, and so as a result he was placed on the Cubs MLB DL retroactive to the date he was optioned to Iowa in March.

Submitted by AshBat on Wed, 07/09/2008 - 10:31pm.

If he demanded a trade, wouldn't the Cubs just trade him? I mean, assuming he's healthy and has pitched well the rest of the season, I would think some team would rather trade to get him at $7mil than compete for his services on the open market. I don't see how Rich could leverage the trade demand into more money.

=================================

ASHBAT: My point was that while it would appear that the Cubs have Rich Harden under their control through 2009, they very well might not. They would have if they had made the deal prior to this past Sunday, though. 

If Harden pitches the way he's capable of pitching through the last half of the 2008 season and into the post-season, and if he stays healthy, he could demand a trade in order to try and force the Cubs into giving him a contract extention after this season, instead of having to wait until sometime in 2009 or after the 2009 season. And if the Cubs don't agree to a post-2008 contract extention, Harden can demand a trade, and then the Cubs would HAVE to trade him prior to next March 15th (because if they don't they risk losing him for nothing). And if the other 29 MLB clubs know that the Cubs HAVE to trade Harden prior to March 15th, the Cubs are not as likely to get as much back in the deal than they would if they didn't have a gun pointed at their head.

Again, Harden is really not necessarily under the Cubs control through 2009. While he might not demand a trade post-2008, he will have that right. But if the trade with the A's had been made just two days earlier, Harden would have been traded prior to reaching five years of MLB ST, and then he absolutely, positively would have been under the Cubs control (at $7M) through next season and the possibility of his demanding a trade after the 2008 season would not even be an issue. 

My question would be: Could Jim Hendry have made this same deal on Saturday, or did it just come together on Sunday-Monday? Because if the same deal could have been made on Saturday, then the Cubs screwed up.

I guess the question here then would be when does a trade officially take place? Is it when it is filed with the league office? If that is the case, is it possible the trade was filed at an earlier day before the deal was confirmed to the press?

I don't know when it became offical but the press release was dated 7/8.
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/press_releases/pr...

I must have missed his returning to the Cub fold. Did this happen before the season?

Submitted by Lawhide on Fri, 07/11/2008 - 10:38am.

I must have missed his returning to the Cub fold. Did this happen before the season?

=========================

LAWHIDE: The Cubs signed Jason Dubois to a minor league contract on May 19th after he was released by WAS. He has hit 338/445/832 (1.277 OPS) with 17 HR in 40 games so far for Iowa.

I'm borderline shocked the Cubs haven't called up Dubois (or even Hop) since Soriano will be out at least another couple of weeks - he would definitely be an offensive boost in left field compared to Reed. Do we really need 13 pitchers on the roster?

Submitted by Banks1954 on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 10:19am.

I'm borderline shocked the Cubs haven't called up Dubois (or even Hop) since Soriano will be out at least another couple of weeks - he would definitely be an offensive boost in left field compared to Reed.

Do we really need 13 pitchers on the roster?

=============================

BANKS: I think the 13th pitcher was retained last weekend due to Kerry Wood's blister problem, because the Cubs didn't want to lose Woody for 15 days by placing him on the DL, but they also didn't want to play the three-game series one pitcher short. It helps that the Cubs have two pitchers (Carlos Zambrano and Jason Marquis) who can be used as PHs, otherwise it would be a major problem to go with 13 pitchers and only four position players on the bench.

The Cubs will probably option out Kevin Hart today or tomorrow and recall a position player (most likely Micah Hoffpauir, Jake Fox, or Felix Pie) just for the road trip at HOU and AZ, and then Alfonso Soriano should be ready to be reactivated by the time they get home next week (7/24).

The problem with bringing up Jason Dubois for a week would be sending him back to the minors once Soriano is ready to return to action next week. Dubois is out of minor league options, so the Cubs could lose him off waivers to another MLB club when they try and send him back to Iowa, and the Cubs might want Dubois' right-handed HR bat off the bench for the entire month of September.

PHIL: Thanks for the reply- that makes sense, clearly if you call up Dubois you're doing it to keep him for the duration of the season - I was lamenting the fact that Fukudome basically has become a slap hitter, not knowing how much more we can get out of Edmonds and Soriano being a constant health concern, having a power bat in the outfield as a PH and spot starter would be very helpful and Dubois's numbers in ~40 games at Iowa are sick. Our PH options off the bench these days don't bring fear into opposing pitchers to say the least.

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