URL Weaver: Bare Bones

Today marks the final Friday before most folks file out for the holidays – the dog days of employment are nigh. The same applies to the baseball hot stove. The cupboards grow increasingly bare. Other than Michael Bourn, most of the names remaining are of the “he’s still around?” or “him? Really?” variety.

After all the big name players are gone, all that remains are opportunistic teams looking to take a flier on a cheap, high risk option. The thing about cheap and high-risk options is they tend to be inexpensive and risky for a reason. Often, multiple good reasons. Take Rich Harden, for example.

Rich Harden is famous for being both very good and very injured. The fragile Canadian icon hasn’t played since a handful of starts with the A’s in 2011. Harden is reportedly healthy and wants to make a come back, interesting several teams but most notably the Twins.

Reading the Twins pitching depth chart is about as uplifting as the first half of Angela’s Ashes. An infusion of swing-and-miss stuff would surely benefit that sad-sack bunch of worm burners. Harden and his wandering command represents the antithesis of a Twins pitcher. Well, the Harden of old certainly did.

Even if his bones and organs stay fused long enough to make a team out of Spring Training, what kind of performance would Rich Harden offer after more than a calender year away from the game? Maybe taking a full year off for the first time is exactly what the injury-riddled righty needs? For all his health struggles, Harden never missed a full campaign in his nine-year career.

Harden isn’t the only reclamation project waiting to its soft-focus closeup. Grady Sizemore is reportedly working out for the Mets and Brandon freaking Webb wants to make a comeback too.

These are the stories that bubble to the surface during the lingering days of 2012. The sort of news crumbs desperate souls and desperate blog editors are forced to consider, thereby forcing a reconsideration of a lifetime worth of decisions, the culmination of which is thinking long and hard about Brandon Webb‘s chances in 2013. Where’s that damn egg nog?

And the rest

The top ten prospects in the Seattle Mariners system. Taijuan Walker shall be the Emerald and/or Queen City’s newest prince. [BP ($)]

Mets “closer” Frank Francisco needs surgery on bone spurs in his elbow. He is expected to be ready to blow games in time for Spring Training [NYT Bats]

How much better are the Angels? Answer – probably not enough. [ESPN Sweetspot]

The Marlins were sniffing around after Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos. Predatory fish indeed. [Michigan Live]

The amazing Bill Baer reminds us that Cliff Lee did this:

and then he did this, because he is a hero:

Yesterday we turned the Getting Blanked podcast into a quiz show which plainly demonstrated how hard it is to remember things. [GB Podcast]

The Mets are looking everywhere for low cost pitching options. Again: low cost for a reason. [NY Post]

Haven’t seen the Cardinals name pop up in many off-season rumors? Here’s why. [Viva El Birdos]