Not a Bad Little Wednesday: Rich Harden Gets a Clean Bill of Health, $7 Million

I imagine that Rich Harden feels the same way about trips to the doctor that World War I soldiers felt about charges toward the opposing trench. Chances are good that the trip won't end well but it's something you've gotta do if you want to keep your job.

Unlike so many fine young men in 1917, though, Harden avoided a bayonet to the gut. Even better, he also avoided a date with the surgeon's scalpel. That was the only obstacle to the Cubs picking up his $7 million option for next year, as we told you this morning, and with it out of the way Harden got his cash. That's good news for Harden and the Cubs, who could use a smile right about now, but there's a dark lining to their silver cloud.

While he'll avoid surgery, Harden still needs to solve the puzzling decline in velocity he suffered at the tail end of the season. The best case scenario would probably be that his slowdown was due to his largest workload since 2004 and not because of anything awry inside the right arm. His elbow wasn't part of today's examination and that would be another potential explanation for his problems.

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